Thomas shot a team-best 40.4 percent from downtown last season but went New York’s first three games without a triple. That was, until, he finally got one to drop in the Knicks’ 118-99 Wednesday loss to Houston.
“It felt good to see the ball go in, shots that usually go in,” Thomas told Elite Sports NY. “I’m still confident in shooting, but we’ve just gotta figure out how to win games together. My shot is gonna be alright, I’m not worried about that. I’m more worried about the grand scheme of things.”
The grand scheme of things, of course, is a floundering New York defense that has allowed 220 points in the past two games.
The defending-champion Cavaliers blasted the Knicks in the season-opener following their ring ceremony. New York pieced together a win over a battered Memphis Grizzlies team, but has since dropped back-to-back games to the Pistons and Rockets.
The Knicks allowed more than 60 points in the first half of each of their last two games and have given up eight 30-point quarters so far this season. They rank 27th in the NBA in opponent three-point percentage (.411), behind only Washington and Dallas.
Thomas, whom the Knicks re-signed to a four-year deal in part because of his stringent defense, said his team has to step up defensively if they’re going to make a playoff run.
“We’ve gotta take more pride,” he said. “There were so many wide open dunks, back-door cuts nobody was helping. Even individual defense, taking pride one-on-one. That’s gonna have to change if you want to be a team to talk about.
“It’s gonna have to happen in practice. We’re gonna have to watch film. Watch all of it. Watch the whole thing and see how bad it looks over the whole stretch of a game as opposed to one or two minutes.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek acknowledged his reserve forward was struggling from the field but said he has “total confidence in his shooting. … There’s no concern for him, I know he’ll get it going.”
Thomas was appreciative of his coach’s comments.
“Absolutely, that does feel good,” he told Elite Sports NY. “But personally, I feel the exact same way. My teammates feel the exact same way. So, it’s gonna drop. It’s something I’m not worried about. I just gotta get used to playing with everybody. Them knowing where each other likes the ball. And just being confident that’s all it is.”