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Knicks embark on critical road trip to the west

Knicks forward Julius Randle jumps against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins.
Knicks forward Julius Randle jumps against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins.
AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

The Knicks are heading out west this week for a five-game road trip that could prove crucial to their season. 

Sitting at 6–7 on the young season, the team has not lived up to their win-now expectations so far — and the next few contests will determine whether they should stay on the same course, or potentially make a radical change within the organization.

On Tuesday night, they’ll face off against the over-performing Jazz in Utah, who are currently 10–5 and near the top of the Western Conference. After that, they visit the Denver Nuggets (9–4), the Golden State Warriors (6–8), the Phoenix Suns (8–5) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (6–8). 

When they return back to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 25, the team will have a clearer picture about their standing in the NBA. 

Currently, the Knicks are reeling from a string of porous defensive showings, including last game when they gave up 145 points to the Thunder, when their defense was laughably bad, and drew a chorus of jeers from the New York faithful.  

“We’re capable of doing better,” said head coach Tom Thibodeau after that lackluster game.

Thus far, they’ve given up the 6th-most points in the NBA at 116.8 points per game. 

Thibodeau’s seat has become increasingly hot in recent days, as many fans and insiders have been calling for his removal from the sidelines as Knicks coach. The defensive-minded coach had led his team to be one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. 

If the team falls flat during this road trip, it’s possible they may look to make a change in the coaching staff — and that Thibodeau may have coached his last game at the basketball Mecca. 

But their problems run deeper than a simple coaching change could fix.

Despite being loaded with talented players, the team has failed to deliver results on either end of the floor, with Julius Randle being a constant ball-stopper, RJ Barrett disappearing in crunch time, and the rest of thee roster looking more interested proving themselves worthy of getting minutes than playing as a cohesive unit. 

The Knicks players reportedly joined one-another for a “players only dinner” organized by Randle (never a good sign for coaches) prior to their matchup with Utah to hash out their obvious problems.

This next road trip will be their biggest test yet, as they face a reigning MVP, two teams that have made the Finals in the past two seasons, and a team they’ve already lost to this year. 

It should be something fans keep an eye on, as this franchise could be looking for some major shake ups in the coming days if they’re unable to turn it around. 

For more coverage of the Knicks, head to amNY.com.

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