Doc Rivers is at the heart of the Knicks’ struggles

Doc Rivers, the best quote among NBA coaches, summed up in a press conference that the Knicks’ troubles were better than Tom Thibodeau could be in 40 sessions.

When asked by The Post how the Knicks managed to go 10 games out of ,500 last season to 11 games now, the Sixers coach admitted season-team additions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier didn’t successful.

“When you make changes, sometimes it’s good for you and sometimes it’s not,” Rivers said before Knicks lose to Sixers. “Chemistry is a very fickle thing, as we all know. When you have it, you want it. Sometimes you don’t even know why you have it, but you know that you want to try to protect it. And when you lose it, you don’t know why you lose it sometimes. But there is still time. ”

Not really. The Knicks have 21 games left and begin a seven-game road trip that begins in Philly on Wednesday and heads to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Dallas, Memphis and Brooklyn. They have only 4 ½ games away from the 10th seed needed for the knockout event.

Doc Rivers was asked why Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks (top right) are lagging behind last year.
AP, Robert Sabo

Thibodeau will not commit to Knicks point guard Derrick Rose returning in March. The Knicks revealed Rose’s “minor procedure” Friday involved cleaning up a skin infection that developed where he underwent surgery in mid-December to remove a bone. Therefore, it remains unclear how invasive that procedure was while one report said he could return in two weeks. However, Thibodeau said no timetable is known in advance.

When asked if he thinks he’ll see Rose again in March, Thibodeau said, “Yeah, I wish I could answer that, but I can’t. Obviously, he needs some time now and then when he’s reevaluated, as soon as we have more information we’ll make sure you guys stay updated as well. You just have to arrange for him to get over it and be patient with it. Either way, Rose’s return might be deemed unnecessary if the Knicks are young.

There is also no timetable for Quentin Grimes. According to one source, the shooting rookie may still need a month to recover, and by that time, the season could be over. “We will update from time to time as we also have more information,” says Thibodeau. “But we feel that the fact that there is no surgery is good.”

Thibodeau continued to sustain his youth movement by playing rookie center Jericho Sims for another 18 minutes while veterans Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel sat on the bench. Sims failed to score but had 10 rebounds. Even when Sims and Mitchell Robinson fouled after failing to score, Thibodeau brought in Obi Toppin. Noel was included in the list after the All-Star break with a foot injury and is questionable for Friday’s Miami game. But he did get dressed for both games. Thibodeau said he’s “ready” to compete but doesn’t want to use him until he has exercises under his belt. Thibodeau said Noel’s plantar fasciitis was good enough for him to play if needed but gave him a second DNP-CD in a row. Noel was not reached for comment. Doc Rivers is at the heart of the Knicks’ struggles


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