After a promising start to the season, the New York Knicks find themselves in a tricky situation. Once upon a time, the team was 5-3 and looked like they were a dark horse playoff team. Flash forward to January 15 and we see a five-game Knicks losing streak after a 106-103 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Main Knicks vs Cavaliers Headlines
The teams were tied heading into the fourth quarter but a 26-23 advantage in the final frame put the final touches on the Knicks losing streak. Standing at 5-8, the Knicks are sinking in the Eastern Conference standings.
Andre Drummond lights up the paint
Drummond tied his career-high with 33 points and added 23 rebounds to become the first 30-20 player since Carlos Boozer recorded 32 points and 20 rebounds against Seattle on January 20, 2004. Drummond also added three assists, two blocks, and two steals. The former All-Star is leading the league in rebounds and is playing like a future All-Star starter.
Julius Randle records highlight dunk
When looking at positives, Randle was one of the few. Randle recorded a top-10 caliber play by dunking over Drummond in the paint. Randle took the ball and drove into the paint and rose right over the big man. Take a look for yourself. Randle finished the game with 28 points and six assists.
Immanuel Quickley tried to snap the Knicks losing streak
Quickley had a solid game off the bench. His +/- rating was +11 as he added 23 points coming off the bench. He played 28 minutes and took the second-most shots (17) in the game. He added five rebounds and four assists as well.
Knicks losing streak commentary
As the Knicks continue to pile up losses, there are a couple of thoughts that come. This is their fifth game that the team has lost. If the season wants to be saved, a couple of adjustments need to be made.
Elfrid Payton is not good enough
Payton is good enough as a bench player but not as a starter. In over 30 minutes of time, he has suspect defense and is inconsistent. He might shoot 50% from the field, but then could shoot 3-of-11 from the field. If the Knicks ever want to be competitive one day, the team needs a starting-caliber guard in the rotation.
Knicks losing streak could lead to trades
When Tom Thibodeau signed his five-year deal, the franchise knew that the team wouldn’t contend until Year 3. The question is will Julius Randle be a part of the competitive team? He has one year remaining after this season and could bring a first-round draft pick. Immanuel Quickley has played well and could bring second-round compensation. If the streak continues, look for more names to be mentioned.
The tale of Dennis Smith Jr.
Dennis Smith Jr, the former 2017 No. 9 overall pick, once averaged 15.2 points for the Mavericks his rookie season and was part of the Kristaps Porzinges trade. He has played two games this season and one game during the Knicks losing streak. He could be out of the league completely after this season.