Tom Thibodeau benches Knicks starters

Tom Thibodeau does not think the New york city Knicks beginners, who lead the league in minutes played together, require more video games to establish good chemistry. They must currently have it. 

Thibodeau benched his beginning lineup for the whole of the 4th quarter on Wednesday night versus the ruling champ Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks tracked, 82-66, and went on to lose by a comparable margin, 112-100. However the bench removed a 22-point deficit to connect the video game with 5 minutes left. 

Afterward, Thibodeau dismissed the notion that Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson needed more time together to develop chemistry. 

“You know what they say: When it’s 10 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***.”

The Knicks starting lineup has played more minutes together (204.8) than any other five-player grouping in the league so far this season. But they have a -14.4 net rating and 119.3 defensive rating, which is seven points worse than the Memphis Grizzlies, the league’s worst in the category, have as a collective team. 

None of the starters spoke to reporters after the game, per ESPN. The reserve group of Obi Toppin, Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley and Taj Gibson played the final 2:01 of the third quarter together and went on a 29-7 run. It erased a 22-point deficit to tie the game at 89-all with 5:06 to play. 

The Bucks hit seven 3-pointers, their only made baskets of the time frame, over the next four minutes to finish the game. 

“We were just searching,” Thibodeau said, in explaining his decision to keep the reserves on the court, via ESPN. “Once we got the intensity into the video game, got some stops, shared the ball, got some easy scores, got a good rhythm going, I thought the bench played well.”

That reserve lineup has played 61 minutes together, second-most for the Knicks, and has statistically performed much better. They have a 19.9 net rating and 93.5 defensive rating. It’s the only one of the four Knicks lineups to have a defensive rating under 104.5. The Golden State Warriors lead the NBA with a 99.2 defensive rating. 

The Knicks (7-5) have won nearly every road contest (5-1), but have struggled at Madison Square Garden (2-4), where they hosted the Bucks on Wednesday. It’s been an inconsistent first month for the squad. New York is back on the road to play the Charlotte Hornets (6-7) on Friday. 

Tom Thibodeau

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is browsing for responses with his beginning lineup. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.