Knicks playoff chase hampered by Garden struggles

The Knicks’ house is changing into The World’s Most Infamous Arena.

Madison Square Garden, probably the most prestigious venue within the NBA, has remodeled into the Knicks’ home of horrors. Their newest dwelling defeat, an time beyond regulation loss Monday to the Raptors, dropped them to 11-12 on the Garden this season.

Of the 20 groups in place getting into Tuesday for the NBA play-in event or postseason, the Knicks have been the lone membership that was beneath .500 at dwelling.

“It’s irritating. Obviously we need to win at dwelling,” Jalen Brunson mentioned after his 26 factors have been wasted Monday. “We have among the finest fan bases on this planet, however that is clearly a historic place to play, so all people’s coming right here with their finest foot ahead.”

Such has been the standard rationalization: Opposing groups do not want a second cup of espresso to rise up for video games within the Garden. Stars do not need to sit when New York is watching. The similar rationale was expressed final season, when the Knicks went 17-24 on the Garden and missed the postseason.

There are loads of causes the Knicks have bother successful at Madison Square Garden.
Jason Szenes for the New York Post

But final season was a misplaced season throughout. The 2022-23 Knicks have been wonderful on the street, the place they’re 14-8, and so they can combat for home-court benefit within the first spherical. Since the 1976-77 merger, solely seven groups have certified for the postseason with a dropping mark at dwelling, together with the 2021-22 Nets, who have been the seventh seed and possibly require an asterisk as a result of Kyrie Irving was barred from enjoying at Barclays Center for many of the season.

When the Knicks host the Wizards on Wednesday, they start the sport because the sixth seed within the Eastern Conference and flirting with a weird historic anomaly. No crew because the NBA-ABA merger has had a dropping document at dwelling and completed within the high six in its convention.

“I believe for us, we simply acquired to deal with the little issues,” Brunson mentioned earlier than addressing the issues as a complete. “A whole lot of these losses include one or two possessions, marginal losses. We must be 1 p.c, 2 p.c higher.”

He’s proper. The Knicks have outscored their opponents at dwelling by a mean margin of 115.5-112.5. The rims have been friendlier on the Garden, the place they’re taking pictures 40.3 p.c versus 39.4 p.c on the street, however the additional bucket or two has not been the distinction in sufficient video games.

Eleven of the Knicks’ video games on the Garden have been determined by seven or fewer factors. The Knicks have misplaced eight of these video games.

Included are crushing losses to the Bucks, Bulls, Hawks and Trail Blazers in video games by which the Knicks held enormous or late leads. Entering Tuesday, the Knicks have been the third-worst crew within the NBA within the second half of dwelling video games, having been outscored by 72 factors. Only the pitiful Rockets and Spurs, with a mixed 23 wins, have been worse on their very own dwelling courts within the third and fourth quarters.

Close video games proceed going the incorrect method, which possible has influenced coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotations. On Monday, Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, on the again finish of a back-to-back, performed a mixed 134 minutes. Thibodeau’s additional reliance on his finest gamers didn’t swing the sport, and the coach appeared suspicious the officiating might need.

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts in the second half
Tom Thibodeau continues to be making an attempt to determine the precise rotation to assist the Knicks at dwelling.
Jason Szenes for the New York Post

“It was arduous to inform what a foul it was,” Thibodeau mentioned after the Raptors took 41 free throws, six greater than the Knicks.

When even the officiating is just not going your method, the house cooking has gone stale.

After the Knicks face off with the below-average Wizards, there is not going to be many alternatives to fatten up their dwelling document. Of the following 10 video games on the Garden, just one will likely be in opposition to a crew that entered Tuesday exterior of the playoffs: LeBron James’ Lakers. The Cavaliers, Heat, Clippers, 76ers, Jazz, Nets (twice), Pelicans and Celtics is not going to be intimidated after they enter the locale so many name “the mecca.”

“I’m involved about every part, so I have a look at every part,” Thibodeau mentioned final month, when requested if he was involved about his crew’s struggles at dwelling.

There is lots to take a look at.

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