‘It Sucks Man, It Really Sucks’ | Tom Thibodeau Benches Knicks Starters In The Fourth and Derrick Rose Isn’t Pleased with Team’s Performance

NY Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is frustrated with his starters. Image Credit: Twitter @newsday

The New York Knicks have a real problem.

In the wake of the debacle in Brooklyn with the absence of Kyrie Irving, the New York Knicks have the chance to turn the tide of popularity not only within the city but within the Eastern Conference.

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However, after winning their preseason games, the season has taken the fans through fits and starts. It all begins with the starting five, who have yet to gel into the promise they show on paper.

Thibs Big Decision

As a result, last night en route to the orange and blue’s 112-100 loss to the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, coach Tom Thibodeau made a drastic decision.

He benched all the Knicks starters from the beginning of the fourth quarter to the end.

“You know what they say: When it’s ten games, they say you need 20,” Thibodeau said. “When you say 20, they say you need 30; at 30, you say 40. And before you know it, the season is over. So that’s a bunch of bulls—.”

What’s The Science

The Knicks’ starting five consists of Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and Kemba Walker. The squad has the distinction of playing more minutes together than any other starting five during the season.

However, that fact makes being outscored by the opposition by 14.4 points per 100 possessions, according to ESPN, more troubling. Additionally, with a defensive rating of 119.3, the Knicks’ starting unit has fallen seven points behind this season’s worst-ranked NBA team defense.

The starters must have felt the weight of the slight by Thibodeau and the stats chasm, as none spoke to the media post-game.

“Yeah, just they didn’t play well,” said Thibodeau. “That’s it. We’ve gotta figure it out. And right now we’re playing well on the road and we’re not playing well at home, which is unusual. So we’ve gotta get that straightened out.”

The Bench Factor

The bench was the deciding factor for the Bucks as shooting guard Pat Connaughton had 23 points shooting for 53.8 percent from the three-point land with nine rebounds and five assists. Connaughton went 8-for-14 in field goals and 7-for-13 in threes.

Similarly, Derrick Rose’s 8 of 15 field goal shooting and 6-for-8 three-pointers came off the bench for the Knicks, contributing 22 of the team’s points.

“When you got close, it makes it even harder. It sucks man, it really sucks,” said Rose at the postgame press conference.

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Now sitting at No. 7 in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are still ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, who sit right behind them. If they had won Wednesday night they would have been tied with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in the conference at 8-4 apiece.

The Shakeup Cometh

The key is Julius Randle, who has led the team in scoring, rebounds, and assists this season. Every game that Randle scored 30 or more points in, with the exception of the third game of the season against Orlando, resulted in a win.

However, the union between the starters and veteran bench players like Derrick Rose needs to be addressed. The former sixth man of the year had a slight injury during the preseason but has looked stellar when in the game.

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A shakeup is brewing in New York en route to the top of the division, and the Knicks’ starting five, as we now know, looks suspect.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.