It wasn’t the New York Knicks night on Wednesday, as they were stampeded over by the clubhouse leader for MVP Nikola Jokic and the 44-22 Denver Nuggets.
The loss comes as part of a six-game road trip, of which, they’re now 2-1 going into Phoenix. New York had a nine-game winning streak snapped previously this season in their last bout with the Suns.
Friday night’s rematch will be must watch, and a must win for the Knicks.
Austin Rivers Gets the Last Laugh
Once touted as a prized veteran for the New York Knicks locker room, Austin Rivers was traded at the deadline to make room in the rotation for former MVP point guard Derrick Rose.
The team is undoubtedly better off with head coach Tom Thibodeau’s longtime disciple, you wouldn’t have been able to tell on Wednesday.
Rivers scored 25 points and made six threes against his former team.
When speaking with reporters (via the New York Post) after the game, the 28-year old didn’t take the opportunity to rag on the Knicks. Well, at least not entirely:
I don’t even want to get into [what happened]. I don’t have any negativity towards the Knicks. I’m actually very close with a lot of guys on the team. Obviously things happened. I don’t want to bring any of that to light. Some things just don’t work out. That’s all I want to say, I have a lot I could say but I don’t have enough time right now.
It was Nuggets’ head coach Mike Malone who made transparent of Rivers’ likely feelings of ill-will:
I’m sure in Austin Rivers’ mind, this is a team that let him go. And I’m sure he’s taking a lot of satisfaction with helping us the way he did tonight off the bench.
New York is 21-9 with Derrick Rose in the rotation. They were 10-11 with Austin Rivers this season.
So again, little doubt as to whether or not the Knicks made the right decision regarding the veteran guard.
But for now, he’ll get the last laugh in the Denver Nuggets dominant victory on Wednesday night.
Updated Knicks Playoff Odds
After their loss to the Denver Nuggets, the New York Knicks drop to 37-29.
That’s good for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, three games back of the third-seed Milwaukee Bucks.
According to Five Thirty Eight’s forecast, their chances at making the playoffs have slipped to 96 percent.
But the website is still giving the team a less than one percent shot at making and/or winning the 2021 NBA Finals.
That number could increase if they retain homecourt going into the postseason.
New York’s currently got a game and a half lead over the fifth-seed Atlanta Hawks, a two and a half game lead over the sixth-seed Miami Heat, and a three-game lead over the seventh-seed Boston Celtics.
Action Network is giving the Knicks a 38.9 percent chance to enter the playoffs as the fourth seed, and a 35.9 percent shot to enter as the fifth seed.
Tankathon.com has New York’s remaining schedule as the third-toughest in the entire NBA. Six games to go.
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