Tom Thibodeau discusses Knicks' poor defense in Kemba Walker's wasted 44-point effort

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Kemba Walker mean muggin on floor and one white uni at MSG
Kemba Walker mean muggin on floor and one white uni at MSG

If you told Knicks fans even a week ago that Kemba Walker would be dropping 44 points, they probably wouldn't believe you.

If you also told them they'd lose such a game, they definitely wouldn't believe you.

But that was the case on Festivus as the Knicks fell 124-117 to the Washington Wizards Thursday at The Garden.

Poor defense -- the same reason that Walker was taken out of the rotation -- was ironically the bugaboo in Walker's best game as a Knick.

"He played a monster game, but we came out with a loss, so it’s a shame to waste that type of effort with a game like that," head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the game.

The Wizards shot 56% from the floor and hit 16 of 37 triples (43.2%). Every time the Knicks made it a one-possession games in the fourth, Washington knocked down a big shot to pull further away.

"It’s tough. I really wanted to win that game," Walker said. "We just didn’t get enough stops, man. It was a full-team effort. We could’ve been a lot better at the end. That’s for sure."

"(The defense) was very poor," Thibodeau said. "We didn’t have control of the ball, we didn’t have stance and vision on the weak side. It’s gonna be hard to win like that.”

Thibodeau said that the Knicks '"can’t afford to not play with great intensity on every possession" with their current state, as they still have players on, or returning from, COVID-19 protocols.

But Walker did not think the loss came from a lack of effort.

"I just think sometimes, it’s miscommunication," Walker said. "Sometimes, they made some tough shots. They made good reads off the pick-and-roll. Just some unfortunate mistakes at times."

On the bright side for the Knicks, though, it looks like Walker is playing with some serious motivation after being a DNP-CD for nine straight games.

“It felt great. It was a good time," Walker said. "I really wish we could’ve won, to be honest. It’s always tough when you play really well like that and don’t come out on top. It was definitely a very special night.

"... I’ve been working continuously to stay on top of my game. And some of it just came out tonight.”

On Christmas Day, the Knicks begin a 14-game stretch in which each of their opponents are currently no better than .500. They kick that span off against the Atlanta Hawks, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

Tip-off is set for noon Saturday at MSG.