Knicks' Tom Thibodeau explains why Elfrid Payton gets another start in Game 2 vs. Hawks

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Elfrid Payton moves ball upcourt
Elfrid Payton moves ball upcourt

Elfrid Payon will remain in Tom Thibodeau's Knicks starting lineup against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of the first-round on Wednesday despite many saying he shouldn't be.

Thibodeau explained why this is his choice.

"You look at the game, you look at what’s going on, it’s a two-point game, and it comes down to a loose ball," Thibodeau said, referring to the close battle in Game 1 that the Hawks stole at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. "So get out there, get the job done, play defense, run the team. We’re going to use everyone."

Basically, Thibs is saying that Payton will be getting in at some point in the game as will the other point guards. So it doesn't matter whether he starts or comes off the bench.

On the contrary, getting off to a good start sets the tone for a game. A player like Derrick Rose, then, getting the start to give the Knicks a potential early lead with the others on the floor might do New York good. But, this is what Thibodeau is going with.

Payton played just eight minutes in Game 1, going 0-for-3 from the field and posting a minus-2 while on the court. He also tallied on assist.

Mitchell Robinson still isn't close

There was a bit of a frenzy on Wednesday afternoon after Robinson appeared to be a game time decision on the Knicks website. However, the NBA injury said that he was out.

Robinson tweeting an eyes emoji also didn't help matters, so Thibodeau had to clear up the confusion.

"He’s still several steps away," he said. "He’s doing well overall. Good steady progress. We’re not taking any chances with him. He’s got to go step by step. He’s doing a little bit but not much. Then the first step is doing individual stuff, then he has to be cleared for team practices. We’re just going to be patient and go through the process."

Robinson hasn't played for New York since March 27 after suffering a foot injury.