The Knicks spent the early part of their season struggling to defend their home court.
Now they are beginning to feast on home cooking at the Garden.
After starting the season 7-10 at home, the Knicks have won five straight at the Garden, the latest their 108-85 win over the Mavericks on Wednesday.
“Just daily work,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Commit to improvement. Commit to the team. Play hard on every possession. We got going a little bit, and then we got knocked down, guys go out. The guys stepped in, now they’re getting a rhythm. Our starters played well. Our bench played well. You need everyone. You gotta play for 48 minutes. We’re still striving to do that. But we’re getting a lot stronger on both sides of the ball.”
The Knicks’ improved play — they have won seven of their last 10, including those five wins at home — has come despite a handful of players going in and out of the lineup. They have featured seven different starting lineups during that stretch, due to a combination of injuries and COVID-19 protocols.
RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Evan Fournier, Alec Burks and Mitchell Robinson have started three games together during the stretch, including the last two.
“It’s actually hard to switch the lineup and have different guys in,” Fournier said. “But if you lock in on what you have to do individually it has less of an impact. Sometimes basketball, we try to make it so complicated, at the end of the day we all know what we have to do: Execute.
“Hopefully we can keep the lineup for a bit, no injuries and no COVID.”
The second update in All-Star fan voting was released on Thursday and still only one Knick has cracked the top-10 at his position: Derrick Rose. The veteran point guard, currently sidelined after undergoing ankle surgery on Dec. 22, placed seventh among Eastern Conference guards. No Knicks are included in the East’s top-10 front-court vote getters.