The Knicks adding Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks at the trade deadline certainly gives them a bit more firepower on offense, but with injuries compounding and several stars missing significant time, the team is simply trying to stay afloat.
Knicks’ Recent Struggles and Adjustments
The Knicks have lost their last two games against the Mavericks and Pacers, losing by 14 on Saturday night; unfortunately, despite Jalen Brunson returning to the team after suffering a sprained ankle and scoring 39 points, the rest of the starting five struggle to get going.
Donte DiVincenzo quieted down a bit, shooting just 2-for-9 from downtown, scoring 14 points. Their reserves, Bogdanovic and Burks, combined for 33 points but struggled defensively. When the Knicks are back to full strength, things will be in good shape, but they just have to survive for the time being, and the All-Star break will give them a much-needed rest.
Even Josh Hart is starting to feel the brunt of their losses, noting the difficulty of playing without some of their more impactful players.
“Obviously, we’re down bodies, but we’ve got to find a way to piece together wins,” he said, via the NY Daily News. “We’ve got two [more games] before All-Star and then hopefully we’ll get guys back. So we’ve just got to figure it out.”
Injury Challenges and Team Morale
The Knicks are waiting patiently for Julius Randle to return from a dislocated right shoulder, and OG Anunoby just underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow.
All of these issues have made it difficult for the Knicks to maintain their impressive pace, but they still hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, sitting 1.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, who may drop out of the top six altogether with Joel Embiid out for an extended amount of time.
“I just deal with reality. This is what we have and I think we can win with what we have,” Thibodeau said after the loss. “So that’s all I think about. Get in there and get it done. There’s no moral victories. Get out there and get it done. If you’re here and you’re on this roster that means you’re a hell of a player and we can win.”
Looking Ahead to Recovery and Success
The Knicks have two more games, facing off against the Rockets on Monday and the Magic on Wednesday before the All-Star break. The Rockets are one of the worst teams in the league, so they should have a good opportunity to turn their fortunes around, and the Magic are inconsistent but above .500.
The expectation is the Knicks will have a healthy team for the stretch run and the postseason, which is all that matters at this point.