Knicks face playoff elimination after Game 4 rebounding woes

Free Bitcoins: FreeBitcoin | BonusBitcoin

Coins Kaufen: Bitcoin.deAnycoinDirektCoinbaseCoinMama (mit Kreditkarte)Paxfull

Handelsplätze / Börsen: | KuCoinBinanceBitMexBitpandaeToro

Lending / Zinsen erhalten: Celsius NetworkCoinlend (Bot)

Cloud Mining: HashflareGenesis MiningIQ Mining

The Knicks are down 3-1. Can they rebound?

Only if they can rebound.

The Knicks’ feel-good march through the postseason has been pushed to the brink. The gritty team that grabbed every loose ball and rebound went to Miami and disappeared like people’s inhibitions. The team that did show up at Kaseya Center on Monday was a step slow and a step out of place in a 109-101, Game 4 loss to the Heat that put the Knicks a loss away from elimination.

It is not surprising the Knicks have dug a hole against a team led by Jimmy Butler, who poured in 27 points on 17 shots. It is not surprising Tom Thibodeau’s crew is behind against a team coached by Erik Spoelstra and with far more postseason experience.

What is surprising is the Heat are beating the Knicks at their own game.

The Knicks, whose biggest postseason strength has been winning the battle on the glass, were either outworked or outpositioned. The Heat outrebounded the Knicks, 44-35, and prolonged possession after possession to escape on a night the Knicks shot well enough to win (48.7 percent from the field).

The Knicks, reduced to bystanders on this Bam Adebayo dunk, seemingly were a step slow throughout Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Heat.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

“We gotta get a body on people,” Thibodeau said after a game that was never a blowout, but also rarely felt close. “They’re shooting long, we’re running in, and the ball’s going over our head.”

Remember that stirring five-shot sequence, during which Isaiah Hartenstein would not allow the Knicks’ possession to end, that saved the Knicks in Game 2? Surely the Heat remembered it because they emulated it.

The Knicks’ problems were typified during a sequence that did not even result in a Heat bucket. The Knicks were down, 94-81, with 10:24 remaining in the fourth quarter when Bam Adebayo grabbed a defensive rebound. The Heat then played keepaway for 55 seconds, draining valuable time if not shots.

Duncan Robinson bricked a 3 that led to a long rebound that Caleb Martin read better than Hartenstein and Julius Randle. The 6-foot-5 Martin guessed the ball would miss long and carom back toward the foul line, and Martin got there first to tip it back out to Kyle Lowry.

The Heat's Caleb Martin tips the rebound away from Isaiah Hartenstein and Julius Randle of the Knicks.
Get one rebound! Nope. Caleb Martin tips the ball away from the outstretched arms of Isaiah Hartenstein and Julius Randle during the second half.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

After resetting, Lowry tried a 3 of his own and missed long. Quentin Grimes and RJ Barrett watched the ball’s trajectory rather than boxing out Butler, who easily grabbed the rebound. The Heat had another chance and created another look for Robinson, who bricked another triple — but yet again, Heat players were in the right spot. Jalen Brunson locked Adebayo’s arm and was called for a foul that gave the Heat another shot.

And another miss, this time a 3 from Martin that rimmed out. Lowry actually chased down the rebound, but stepped out of bounds in the process, finally giving the ball back to the Knicks with 9:29 remaining.

The Heat did not score, but neither did the Knicks. The clock kept running.

“Maybe they want it more. I don’t know,” Randle said after a game in which every loose ball seemed to bounce to the Heat. “That’s been who we are all year, and we’ve gotta find a way to step up and make those plays if we want to keep this season alive.”

Julius Randle tries to pass through the defense of Jimmy Butler.
Julius Randle lamented after the game how the Knicks got away from their scrappy identity.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

Entering play, the Knicks had outrebounded their opponents in the postseason by an average of 46.6-38.6. Mitchell Robinson and Hartenstein had been quietly dominant and compensated for shortcomings elsewhere. The strength was supposed to carry the Knicks against the Heat, who were the fourth-worst team in the NBA in the regular season at rebounding, a persistent problem that played a large role in Spoelstra’s group needing to survive the play-in just to make the postseason.

But the Heat advanced, stunned the Bucks and have begun to stun the Knicks in a different fashion.

The Knicks losing to the Heat is unremarkable. But the Heat out-hustling and outrebounding the Knicks, as they did in Games 3 and 4, would be a frustrating way for the Knicks to go out.

Today’s back page

The back cover of the New York Post on May 9, 2023
New York Post

Read more:

🏈 The inside story behind the effort to bring Aaron Rodgers to Jets

⚾ Max Scherzer knows injury can get a lot worse: ‘Just don’t break’

🏒 WALKER: Stanley Cup pressure completely changes this Rangers coaching search

🏀 Liberty aim to make good on growing WNBA superteam buzz

Waiting for lineup verdicts from Judge’s return

The bigger the domino, the larger the possible effect.

There are plenty of directions for the Yankees to go, but the return of 6-foot-7 Aaron Judge could come with suitably large reverberations.

The Yankees slugger is set to be activated from the injured list Tuesday, when the roster probably will be pared and the lineup will become a curiosity.

Aaron Judge warms up before a Yankees game.
Aaron Judge’s return to the Yankees creates intrigue around the rest of the roster.

Let’s start with the roster possibilities, which range from humdrum to huge:

Move Oswald Peraza: Perhaps to the injured list, perhaps by optioning the 22-year-old infielder to Triple-A. Peraza has not played since Wednesday, when he rolled his ankle while stealing second base. He has progressed since and is running the bases, but the Yankees’ bench has been short as they have stored a player who, even when healthy, did not get consistent playing time.

Peraza was called up April 16, when Giancarlo Stanton went down, and did not emerge as an immediate spark before his ankle forced him off the field.

Getting Peraza off the active roster is the most likely move but far from a shoo-in.

Without Josh Donaldson, the Yankees’ infield has been short. With Judge and without Peraza, flexible defenders such as Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Oswaldo Cabrera likely would see more time on the dirt. Speaking of Cabrera…

Option Oswaldo Cabrera: He won the Opening Day job in left field, but has not run with it. He has been in the midst of a deep slump and has hit the ball into the ground too often — but certainly showed some nice elevation during a 7-2 win over the A’s on Monday.

Cabrera slammed his second home run of the season and upped his average to .204 in a nicely timed strong performance, especially because of his competition. With the Yankees taking more substantial looks at corner outfielders Jake Bauers and Willie Calhoun, Cabrera’s playing time has taken a dip.

Oswaldo Cabrera crosses the plate after hitting a home run in the Yankees' win over the A's.
Oswaldo Cabrera, who had been mired in a prolonged slump, celebrates a home run in Monday’s 7-2 win over the A’s.

The Yankees, who already have one super-utilityman in Kiner-Falefa, could send Cabrera to Triple-A with the message of working on his swing before the next inevitable injury at the major league level provides him another call-up.

DFA Jake Bauers or Willie Calhoun: Bauers’ Triple-A power earned him a call-up, and he already has shown flashes of a mighty swing in the majors (while faltering in the field). Calhoun, whose bat the Yankees believe in, has begun to produce more after a slow start. Exposing either to waivers at this stage would be a large surprise.

It would be a decent-sized surprise if the Yankees…

Play with a short bullpen: After Monday’s win, the Yankees optioned reliever Nick Ramirez back to Triple-A. They could activate Judge and play with 12 pitchers and 14 position players, but the guess here is another reliever — perhaps Greg Weissert — will come up with Judge today.

It would be the most eye-opening, though, if the Yankees…

DFA Aaron Hicks: His double Sunday was his first extra-base hit in 222 days. His home run Monday represented his first hit in The Bronx all season: He’s now 1-for-20 while playing in front of a crowd that typically boos his every move.

Even with the dinger, Hicks’ .439 OPS would be the worst in all of baseball if he had tallied enough plate appearances to qualify.

Hicks has not helped defensively, either, and is due nearly $30 million through 2025 in a contract that has not worked out for the club. Hicks is relentlessly booed in The Bronx, and was even jeered in St. Petersburg, Fla. — Bronx South — this weekend.

The Yankees' Aaron Hicks has a pained expression after striking out.
Is today Aaron Hicks’ final day with the Yankees? The veteran outfielder still lacks a defined role with the team.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

Would the Yankees, who are welcoming back one outfielder, finally get rid of another and give up on Hicks? Probably not this early — and with less drastic options listed above — but it is difficult to envision Hicks remaining with the team all season without much of a role.

Asked Sunday if the corresponding move to bring Judge back will be a difficult one, Boone said: “We’ll see.”

We’ll see how Boone handles the lineup, too.

The Yankees opened with Anthony Volpe as their No. 9 hitter, and his dynamism and the club’s fragility boosted him to the leadoff spot. The Yankees already were without Harrison Bader when Giancarlo Stanton’s hamstring gave out April 15, so the Yankees wanted DJ LeMahieu’s bat in the middle of the lineup.

Volpe then ascended to the top of the lineup, where his speed can be accentuated. He has led off in his past 20 starts.

Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe steals second base.
Anthony Volpe has occupied the leadoff spot for weeks, stealing bases but struggling to get on base.
Getty Images

But with Judge returning to a lineup that now features Bader — and with Volpe’s bat quiet — there is intrigue about the order. Volpe is just 6-for-39 (.154) with a .195 on-base percentage in his past 10 games. His ability to steal bases has turned singles into triples, but he has not reached base often enough to maximize it.

Will Boone stick with Volpe at the top, keep LeMahieu and Bader in the middle and hope his promising young shortstop finds more consistency? Or will LeMahieu return to the leadoff spot with Volpe perhaps sinking back to No. 9?

We will find out soon. The daytime roster machinations might be more interesting than the nighttime game.

Starling losing a step?

There are plenty of possible alibis for Starling Marte’s literally slow start. He is coming off surgeries to both groins. He has been managing a neck issue for much of the first five-plus weeks of the season.

Marte and the Mets have to hope he is hurt because these injuries are easier to overcome than simple aging.

Marte, who could be bumped down in the lineup, is not just struggling at the plate with a .569 OPS. The numbers that clearly show when an older player slows down are showing that the 34-year-old Marte is slowing down.

Mets right fielder Starling Marte slides but cannot make the catch.
Starling Marte’s sprint speed and outfield reaction times have been noticeably down this season for the Mets.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Statcast measures sprint speed in feet per second. Here are Marte’s averages through his nine major league seasons:

2015: 29.6 feet/second, 16th in MLB

2016: 29.0 feet/second, 46th in MLB

2017: 28.8 feet/second, 66th in MLB

2018: 28.6 feet/second, 83rd in MLB

2019: 29.0 feet/second, 53rd in MLB

2020: 28.4, feet/second, 54th in MLB

2021: 28.4, feet/second, 106th in MLB

2022: 28.0, feet/second, 182nd in MLB

2023: 26.4, feet/second, 247th in MLB

The drop-off has been drastic this season. He has been slower on his feet and slower with his first step. Last season, he ranked 58th out of 104 qualifying outfielders in terms of reaction time. This season, Marte was ranked 72nd of 95 (entering play Monday).

Maybe Marte is still gaining strength and health, which would be understandable. Or maybe he has begun a decline in the second season of a four-year, $78 million contract.

The old saying about a player “losing a step” has been quantified, and the early returns from Marte have at least been concerning.

Free Bitcoins: FreeBitcoin | BonusBitcoin

Coins Kaufen: Bitcoin.deAnycoinDirektCoinbaseCoinMama (mit Kreditkarte)Paxfull

Handelsplätze / Börsen: | KuCoinBinanceBitMexBitpandaeToro

Lending / Zinsen erhalten: Celsius NetworkCoinlend (Bot)

Cloud Mining: HashflareGenesis MiningIQ Mining

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.