Conspiracy theory has the added challenge of defending home court in Nix Garden because road teams don’t get up to play – use the Tom Thibodeau phrase – “bulls-t.”
The Knicks (7-6) start a three-game homestand, Monday against Indiana, Wednesday against Orlando and Saturday against Houston.
The Knicks are 2-4 at home after recording a 25-11 record during the season with zero fanfare or 1,900 caps.
“Of course, being in the Mecca of basketball, you want to have a good show in the park,” Derrick Rose said after Sunday’s practice. “It looks good in a rಯೂsumಮ. It was a great feeling to play there – not just the home team but the road team. You play well, you close the audience if you get into it.
The Knicks’ defensive rating and rebounding are significantly worse in the Garden than on the road. But in their 111-98 road loss to the Pacers on Nov. 3, Indiana killed the Knicks by 3-point range – most notably Miles Turner, who slashed 7 of 10 from deep.
“We know we have to play well,” Thibodeau said. “You don’t win matches because you’re at home. You win games because you are ready to play well. Our fans are important. The arena is important but we have to play well and put the work into play. We are really good when we do that.
After a 5-1 start, the Knicks are in bad shape but have three very winning games against three sub-500 clubs. Indiana (6-8), Orlando (3-10) and Houston (1-11) entered Sunday’s game from 10-29.
“It’s a good opportunity,” Thibodeau said. “We have a few days in practice and we are at home but we can’t see it as a three game. We have to look at Indiana.
Knicks center Nerlens Noel (sprained knee) did not practice and was listed as questionable Monday. He has only played in four games and the defense has fallen apart without him.
Much has been made about the second unit take-off and a lot of it is related to the recent surge of second-year guard Emmanuel Quickly, who got off to a brutal start to the season. Over the past five games, Quickly has been shooting 45.8 percent from the 3-point range – and skipping down after doing them.
“Quickly found his rhythm in his shot,” Thibodeau said. “You know he does. He’s one of our best shooters. We never wanted him to be distracted. He was hesitant at the beginning.
Quickly’s 3-point percentage is still below the season’s 32.7 percent. Rose said Quickly has returned to his rookie form – if not better.
“He’s playing with elite confidence,” Rose said. “He was always confident but now he’s controlling the game. I and [Alec Burks] He’s getting out of his way and we’re eating him punching shots. When he plays like that, our job becomes much easier, ” he said.
Indiana rookie swingman Chris Duarte, who tried to trade the Knicks in the draft, averaged 14.3 points, hitting 40.3 percent from 3-point land.