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Well, the Knicks might be in a pickle.

Or are they?

With the Knicks roster decimated due to a COVID outbreak, the Knicks have had to adjust. Rj Barrett, Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride are all in the Health and Safety Protocol as of Monday afternoon. Plus, Derrick Rose going down with an injured ankle has really thinned out the team. Guard Tyler Hall, who has played for the Knicks Summer League team and has been with the Westchester Knicks, was signed on Saturday. Plus, we could see more players signed soon due to the new signing rule in which teams can sign replacement players with no financial penalty. 

So, with a weak roster, the Knicks did battle against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Tom Thibodeau gave the starting nod to Kemba Walker, who was removed from the rotation in November. Walker responded with his best night as a Knick, scoring 29 points on 8-for-20 shooting and 5-for-11 from deep. He also went 8-for-10 from the line and grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists. 

The Celtics defeated the Knicks, 114-107 on Saturday night. That dropped the Knicks to 13-17. They are in 12th place of the Eastern Conference, a half game ahead of the Indiana Pacers, who are in rebuild mode, and 1.5 games back from the tenth-seeded Toronto Raptors for the final play-in spot.

Some called it a revenge game for Walker, a little revenge on his former team and a little revenge on his active head coach. “I know I should be playing,” he said after the game on Saturday. 

It was a well-publicized move that grabbed attention, particularly from former Knick Jamal Crawford. “Can’t lie, I hate seeing Kemba just sitting there..lowkey disrespectful,” tweeted the 41-year-old on December 14. 

Following Walker’s 29-point performance against Boston, Crawford took to social media again. 

That was followed by…

There has to be one explanation to this: Crawford has not watched Walker play basketball since he was a Charlotte Hornet and hasn’t watched him in years and definitely not with the Knicks.

If Jamal Crawford thinks this is the Kemba Walker the Knicks benched, then he is lost. Knicks fans can promise that Walker is not like this anymore. Plus, blaming the media for the output a player gives is so lazy. 11.7 points per game and 3.1 assists per game with 1.3 turnovers a night along with 1.4 free throw attempts per game is passable, at best. Crawford was awful quiet while Walker put up these numbers. He isn’t Hornets Walker anymore. It’s okay to admit this. Seems like Crawford has a personal vendetta against Thibodeau, who was his coach in his one season as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Facts are facts and the fact is Walker, when given the starting nod, was a below-average point guard who couldn’t get the offense going and was a turnstile defensively. 

The Knicks lost by seven points and there were several defensive possessions in which Walker could’ve done a lot more. That is Walker’s issue and will continue to be his issue. 

Plus, he had five fouls late in the game. He took a foul that relegated him to the bench for the rest of night. “I didn’t know I had five fouls,” said Walker after the game. He has to have more awareness. He had the hot hand offensively, but his lack of awareness on defense hurt the Knicks. They needed him late in the contest in a close game, but his mistake costed his team. 

So, are the Knicks in a pickle after Walker’s eye-opening performance? 

No.

One shouldn’t expect to see Walker back in the rotation when this COVID outbreak within the team comes to an end, unless Walker makes some MAJOR improvement on defense. Plus, one shouldn’t expect to see Walker drop 29 points a night either. He is simply not like that anymore. 

I blame his injuries. Injuries stink, but that’s part of the danger of playing sports. 

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