The New York Knicks are running national television right now
In late August, the NBA announced the 2021-2022 schedule for all teams, including the New York Knicks. There, it was revealed that the Knicks would appear in 29 nationally televised games.
Of these 29 games, 22 of them were and will be “flagship” games since they are broadcast on ESPN, TNT or ABC. The other 7 games are featured on NBA TV.
Knicks in the national spotlight
It’s a huge win for New York, who have only had the opportunity to play for the whole country 5 times in the 2020-21 season. The Knicks have even returned to the Christmas slate for 2021 thanks to their intense playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks, the team they face on December 25.
Without a doubt, this is all the result of the surprising and inspiring season the franchise enjoyed last year. The Knicks fought for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference last season, led by All-Star and All-NBA newcomer Julius Randle, Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau and several others. essential members of the organization.
So far, New York has appeared in 6 nationwide televised games and put on a show. They are 5-1 in that stretch. They have won victories against the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Lakers. They lost the game to the Toronto Raptors.
This is of course a very impressive group of teams to beat in any situation, let alone on national television when the pressure on each team is even higher than usual. Ironically, that 5-1 record reflects the Knicks’ start to the season. The team was so hot to start the season that they added the game against Chicago to the roster by playing the game on NBA TV, where it was not originally scheduled.
What’s even better is that 4 of those games (3 wins) took place at home at Madison Square Garden, so the Knicks were even more in the spotlight to show the NBA and its fans that the last season was no accident.
The past two weeks have been tough for the team, but picking up another impressive victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night is the latest example of the team leading the national stage.
The Knicks are now the winners in 3 of their last 5 games, so they seem to be stepping over and going back to playing basketball at a consistently high level. And of course, you can’t play at such a level without the players performing tremendously.
In those 6 games, Knicks players did just that. The last of them was Evan Fournier and Immanuel Quickley against Los Angeles. Quickley helped fend off the Lakers by scoring 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. He hit 4 straight three-pointers and even cut Obi Toppin for a midrange jumper on the stretch.
Fournier was unconscious all night. He finished with 26 points and shot 8 against 14 from the field and 6 against 9 from downtown. 24 of those points occurred in just the first three quarters.
It wasn’t the only big game Fournier had on national television during his time with New York. Who can forget the even bigger scoring explosion he had on opening night against Boston, when he also scored six 3-pointers on his way to 32 points (13v25) in a exciting match in double overtime.
I will regret to point out that the only loss to Toronto came in a dazzling way. However, the Knicks may have found themselves on the other end of a blowout when they faced Milwaukee. At first, New York was largely against the Bucks, but they erased a 21-point deficit and ended up winning by 15 points, 113-98. Julius Randle (32), Derrick Rose (23) and RJ Barrett (20) drove this match.
Five Knicks scored in double digits as the Knicks faced Philadelphia on October 26. The whole team were excellent offensively (47/43/93 separate shots), but perhaps the biggest impact came from Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson, who forced Joel Embiid to score. only 14 points on 2-7 shots.
And finally, the Knicks nearly collapsed in the dying minutes against the Bulls, but they came away with the 104-103 victory. They were competitive and kept the game tight in the first half before taking control in the third and fourth quarters, where they led by up to 13 points. It was Kemba Walker whose 3-point (5-6 from depth) and 21-point shoot-off brought the team to victory.
Overall, New York dominated early in the season playing prime time. Hopefully this success continues and spills over into their other games. The Knicks still have many more opportunities to prove the skeptics wrong by taking on the best in the league and making the most of those high profile appearances.