The Knicks, which aims for more consistency, host sunken missiles

The Knicks, which aims for more consistency, host sunken missiles


The New York Knicks were Eastern Conference darlings last season, and their stifling defense and equal leadership approach took advantage of the surprising post-season berth.

One month into the season, things haven’t gone quite as well in New York. The Knicks still have a winning record and have all the ingredients needed to qualify for the playoffs, but their overall play has been lackluster at times and the results haven’t met expectations so far.

When the Knicks host the Houston Rockets on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, they will do so after their home defeat to Orlando Magic Wednesday, their third defeat in four games. After a 5-1 start to the season, the Knicks have not won back-to-back games this month.

“We’re a team. It’s all part of what we have to figure out,” Knicks coach Tom Tebodeau said of the uneven effort. “There were some real good moments, there were some disappointing moments, but we have to build consistency between us, things we have to be able to count on every night: our defense, our rebounds, our low turnovers. It puts you in a position to win.

“The first thing you need to do is get rid of the ways in which you defeat yourself, and that should be a priority for you.”

While the Knicks set Orlando at just 40.6 percent, they made 18 turns and posted a rebound margin 6 to 6 times. The Knicks are tied for 16th in defensive rebound rate and 20th in field goal ratio, which reflects the performance of the infantry at both ends of the field.

And while five Knicks averaged double digits in scoring, they didn’t open up the right group of players to better withstand their attack. One month later, things haven’t clicked yet.

“The good thing about depth is that you have depth,” Tibodo said. “Sometimes the hard thing is trying to figure out who’s doing well and that kind of thing. We can do better and we have to do it. The only way out is to try and get out of this.”

As they suffered a loss for the 13th time in a row on Wednesday, the Rockets caught a glimpse of rookie guard Galen Green without third-year guard Kevin Porter Jr. who would start alongside him. Porter missed the Rockets’ 101-89 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a thigh injury, leaving Greene to take on more of the burden to facilitate the attack on his teammates as well as himself individually.

At the age of 19, Green would experience his share of ups and downs, but against the Thunder he was strong, scoring 21 points on a 6-of-14 shot with three rebounds and a pair of assists. Significant was the fact that Green only scored one turn while clocking 36 minutes.

“He has to be more and more comfortable in every game as much as he turns into the corner, as much as he plays in the drag, as much as he is a key player for the ball and uses the quick first step he has,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said of Green. “He should keep doing that.”

–Field Media Level

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