Knick’s lack of energy during the slump is the most concerning

The tree that grows in Manhattan is an apple tree.

We don’t have to sugarcoat what we see. Not only did the Knicks go into an early win lap, they went into full tuck position. All the fine work they so painstakingly crafted during a 9-0 stretch was completely compromised and sabotaged by a 3-6 record down the next nine.

It wasn’t just that the Knicks sleepwalked 80 percent of Thursday night’s nefarious 111-106 loss to the young and promising Magic in Orlando, who played the string this season. And it wasn’t just that after discovering a 19-point lead in the third quarter, they couldn’t tuck away the Magic after catching up after three.

It was this:

For a team that has been governed by urgency all season, a team that has resisted extended slumps for the most part because it’s default attitude is to handle its troubles and handle the day-to-day details of the long season there is a worrying lack of passion and energy.

Tom Thibodeau faces a tall order to turn the Knicks around before it's too late.
Tom Thibodeau faces a tall order to turn the Knicks around before it’s too late.

Do you want to blame back-to-back this game in conjunction with Wednesday’s 127-120 loss in Miami? Want to blame the absence of Jalen Brunson, who missed his 10th game of the year with a bruised right wrist?

That is their right.

But it also misses the point. At a time of the year when the Knicks must treat every game like a mini-playoff game, they are now on a losing streak of three games, two of those losses (Thursday and Monday home loss to Minnesota) against teams inferior to the enormous leads took over that were too insurmountable for the Knicks.

“Right now,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, “we’re upset.”

The fact is, the way the Knicks played earlier this month hasn’t just enabled them to dream big; They also enable themselves to deepen the disappointment of not fulfilling that manifest destiny. The Knicks have picked the worst time of the year to go sideways.

Let’s put it even more simply:

They picked the worst time of the year to play their worst ball of the year. Their best player, Brunson, is having a damn hard time staying grounded. Their All-Star, Julius Randle, continues to display a worrying lack of composure, picking up a technical error for the third straight game and compounding the sin by yelling at Immanuel Quickley, who was trying to save him from his 11th T of the season .

RJ Barrett struggles to drive past Cole Anthony during the Knicks' 111-106 loss to the Magic.
RJ Barrett struggles to drive past Cole Anthony during the Knicks’ 111-106 loss to the Magic.

Suddenly, the Knicks now have to somehow reference Monday’s game against the Rockets at home at the Garden and define it as a must. By then, the Heat and the Nets will be tangled, meaning one of them is getting close to the Knicks; On Thursday, the Knicks received a tremendous break when the Nets somehow gagged a game against the Cavaliers in Brooklyn.

But they cannot rely solely on the kindness of strangers forever.

They need to find their mojo and swagger again. With seven games left in the season and thanks to the Nets’ generosity, they still have their own destiny in their hands. But they don’t just have to play better. You have to play harder. They must play with a margin and urgency that defined the first 72 games of the season and have been AWOL for the last three.

“We have to do everything much better,” said Thibodeau.

About 15 minutes ago, the Knicks allowed you to consider the possibility of targeting the Cavaliers, sitting at the No. 4 position east, and they snuck up as close as a game and a half behind Cleveland. But this train has officially left the station. The Knicks need to defend 5th place, and that means returning to a winning spot.

It starts on Monday against the sad Rockets, and on Wednesday they will welcome the Heat at the Garden in a game that could well define the season. For now, this is just an unfavorable drop. It’s not a free fall. Still.

“We have to do better and we know that,” said Thibodeau. “We have to do everything much better.”

He’s not wrong. At all. Knick’s lack of energy during the slump is the most concerning

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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