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“Next Knick Up”

Tom Thibodeau made a strong choice regarding his starting five during Game 5 won against the Pacers. The coach therefore decided to replace Precious Achiuwa with Miles McBride and therefore play smaller.

With this decision, he trusted Miles McBride (17 points), who brought his defense and spacing to give Isaiah Hartenstein free rein in the racket.

“It was huge,” comments Donte DiVincenzo. “Offensively, giving space, being aggressive. And defensively, he made them go through hell all over the field, preventing them from playing. Being able to come in and help out and get back, he was really special tonight. »

The fruits of “Next Man Up”

Yet criticized for his rotation choices and the number of minutes he imposes on his starters, Tom Thibodeau has often mentioned the “Next Man Up” philosophy with the Knicks. With each injury, the Knicks coach gave his confidence to the next player, ready to contribute to help the team.

This was the case for Miles McBride in the starting five, but also for Alec Burks coming off the bench. The replacement for his part scored 18 points in 23 minutes of play, in line with his 20 points from the previous match, even though he had not played a single minute in the first round against the Sixers…

“He gave us huge minutes in this series,” notes Josh Hart. “He’s a true professional, someone who stays ready. You see him every day working hard, making his shots. This is what the pros do. When they're not in the rotation, they continue to improve, they continue to stay ready. When it was his turn, he came and helped us when we desperately needed it. He's a real pro, someone we'll count on during these minutes. »

In addition to the success encountered in Game 5, Alec Burks and Miles McBride have in common the provision of a new option in attack by setting screens for Jalen Brunson which disrupt the Pacers.

“It’s something we like to do (screens between two backs) but also between insides” explains Tom Thibodeau. “We have to attack in different ways and we have to give Jalen (Brunson) openings in different ways. We know that it will be taken twice sometimes. Then it's up to us to make the right choices. And that's why I found the contribution of Alec (Burks) and Deuce (McBride) invaluable. »

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