East Notes: Knicks, 76ers, Pistons


All but eliminated from the playoff race, the Knicks have suddenly been playing their best basketball of the season. The latest example came in Friday’s road win over the Heat, a game in which the Knicks trailed by 17 points with 11 minutes left.

“These guys have been great,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They’ve been practicing well, they’re playing winning basketball and we just want to keep getting better.”

  • Thibodeau recently blasted those who have been judgmental of the Knicks on social media. “It’s a team not an individual thing,” Thibodeau said, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Can’t pick up a boxscore after and say, how many people are watching to the end of the game to really know exactly what happened in the game. I see a lot of opinions but I don’t see guys doing the work to actually study it.’’
  • The coach added, “It’s where we are in society today. Social media. Look, hey, it’s part of the game. We love it. It drives the game. It’s as popular as it’s ever been. But to me, I don’t like anything that eats away at the fabric of the team. And so, people want to take one game, whether it’s a win or a loss and they went, ‘Well, this, this and this. A guy might make one good play in the game, and he has nine bad plays. Or conversely, he makes nine good plays, and he has one bad play.’’


Coach Doc Rivers is pleased with the way Joel Embiid and James Harden are coming around as the two-headed team leaders, as well as how everyone else is fitting in around them.

“We’re getting better. The one-two has to be there first. It is. The rest will follow,” Rivers said after the Sixers topped the Clippers on Friday. They now sit a half-game behind the Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference.

  • Friday’s win also marked the first time Harden and Embiid each compiled a double-double in the same game since the February trade with the Nets. “Things are headed in the right direction, but every single day we are focusing on execution and details,” Harden said. “There are going to be different ways we are going to have to win in the playoffs, and we have to be prepared for that.”


Coach Dwane Casey said the Pistons will need to start putting together two complete halves to take the next steps. In Friday’s loss to the Wizards, Detroit trailed by 17 points before rallying to take a 91-90 lead in the fourth quarter. But Washington closed the game on a 10-6 run.

“I’m not going to say I’m happy about the way we played in the second half, because we’re going to keep losing if we only play one good half,” Casey said. “We gave up 35 points in the second quarter and 40 in the second half, so which team are we?”

  • The Pistons announced that guard/forward Hamidou Diallo will miss the rest of the season with a broken finger. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 58 appearances.

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