Tom Thibodeau talks Knicks' dreadful three-point shooting on Thursday: 'We’re not where we want to be yet'

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Tom Thibodeau preseason vs. Pistons
Tom Thibodeau preseason vs. Pistons

Neither the Knicks nor the Toronto Raptors played a crisp game on Thursday night in Tampa, but ultimately it was the Knicks’ horrific three-point shooting that led to Toronto’s 100-83 win.

The Knicks had a historically bad night from beyond the arc, shooting just 3-of-36. The Knicks starters went 0-of-23 from three (an all-time worst NBA performance by a starting five according to ESPN Stats & Info), as RJ Barrett and Reggie Bullock combined to go 0-for-17 from the downtown.

The Raptors, on the other hand, managed to go 17-of-52 from long range, which played a big part in the Raptors pulling away in the second half and sending the Knicks to a 2-3 record.

After the game, head coach Tom Thibodeau said that he’ll have to look at the game film, but if the Knicks are getting open looks, he wants his team to take them.

“I want to look at the film. When teams play zone, you are going to get a lot of open looks. But we’ll take a look at it,” Thibodeau said.

“It’s the right play. To me, it’s like if you make the right play, if get the movement, you force the defense to collapse and you kick it out, then if one of your shooters is open, that’s what I go by. When you rate your shots, which we chart and we rank, if it’s a high-percentage play before you know what the result is, you have to determine if it’s a good shot or not. So, if a guy’s wide open and there’s no one within five feet, you’ve got to shoot it.

The Knicks entered the game as the best team in the NBA at shooting the three, but that trend obviously didn’t hold up in the 17-point defeat.

“To me, I think we were shooting 47 percent from three the first four games and we got high quality shots,” said Thibodeau. “I thought we had high-quality shots again tonight, but again, I want to look at the film before I comment further on that. But that’s part of the NBA game. We emphasize the open three, the layups, the drives to the basket trying to get to the free-throw line, that’s all part of the offense.

“We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’ll learn from it and continue to focus on improvement.”

Julius Randle tied for the team lead with 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists, but he contributed to the three-point shooting misery, going 0-for-4.

After the game, though, Randle didn’t seem to put too much stock into the poor shooting performance, saying that it’s unlikely they’ll have do endure another game like it.

“We were competing during the game. Obviously going 3-for-36 from the three-point line doesn’t help, but overall, we thought it was a very winnable game for us,” said Randle.

“I think it will be very rare for us to go 3-for-36 from the three-point line, so we’ll be fine.”

The Knicks have a chance to rebound on Saturday when they face the Pacers in Indiana.