Tim Hardaway Jr. is thinking playoffs, Enes Kanter took to Twitter to troll LeBron James, and the Knicks are in LA for a matchup with the Lakers.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has his sights set on the playoffs. He doesn’t want to hear anything about rebuilding or trusting a process. He’s determined to right the ship and help the struggling Knicks make a playoff push. THJ told Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
“I want to make the playoffs. I know my teammates want to make the playoffs. We are developing as a ballclub. We are young. At the same time, we feel even though we’re a young group of guys, we still have that heart and that passion to go out there and win ballgames and string some ballgames together to get back in that playoff position. We’re on the outside looking in. Hopefully, we’ll get closer going into the All-Star break.”
This is exactly what you want to hear from the guy who you signed to a huge contract in the offseason. The passion is there. Now it’s about playing consistently good basketball. THJ is going to look to build off of his 31-point outburst against the Jazz on Friday night. He shot extremely well from the floor, going 11-for-17 from the field and 6-for-7 from deep.
The Knicks are currently 2.5 games back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. New York has struggled with some injuries, but they are healthy again and may have received a shot of life from Hardaway’s college teammate at Michigan, Trey Burke. The recent signing from Westchester impressed in his first meaningful minutes with the Knicks.
Enes Kanter Trolling the King
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 20, 2018
The Knicks always outspoken center, Enes Kanter took to Twitter to show his former team some love after the drubbing they put on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The use of the crown emoji and LeBron’s well-known “Strive For Greatness” line are a clear shot at the King.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) November 14, 2017
And remember that guy Carmelo Anthony? Ho hum, he put on a show in Cleveland last night. He was one of four Thunder players to score 20-plus points. Anthony scored 29 points and added 10 rebounds in what turned out to be a 148-124 slaughtering of the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
Looking for the Season Series Sweep
The Knicks turn their sights to a young Lakers team that is struggling to find consistency. Lonzo Ball will be out for the third straight game on Sunday, per Tania Ganguli of the LA Times.
For all of the criticism Lonzo has received this season, it’s hard to argue against the fact that he makes the Lakers a much better team. In December, Ball went down with an injury and the Lakers lost all six games he missed. After returning, the Lakers won four of five with Ball. After going down again, the Lakers have lost two straight without the Chino Hills product in the lineup.
Lonzo Ball is out for tomorrow’s game against the Knicks. KCP and Brandon Ingram are questionable. Lakers had a shootaround today. Ball didn’t do anything.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 20, 2018
Per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, the Lakers will be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram will be a game-time decision. Unfortunately, injuries don’t guarantee any victories in the Association. The Knicks know that all too well after the debacle Wednesday night in Memphis.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) is out. Brandon Ingram (ankle) is a game-time decision. Lonzo Ball (knee) is feeling better but remains out. Luke Walton expects Ball to make five-game road trip later this week but his playing status remains… https://t.co/9jyt0wLl3K
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 21, 2018
If the Knicks are truly serious about making a playoff push, they need to build off of Friday night’s victory in Utah Jazz and capitalize on the shorthanded Lakers. A win on Sunday would mean the Knicks move to 3-1 on their current road trip and a win would be crucial with a Tuesday matchup against Golden State looming.