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Jalen Brunson masterclass nearly ruined by major Knicks weakness

After barely squeezing past the San Antonio Spurs, the Knicks are now 21-18 on the season. Considering how bad the Spurs have been this year, this game was...

After barely squeezing past the San Antonio Spurs, the Knicks are now 21-18 on the season. Considering how bad the Spurs have been this year, this game was closer than it should have been.

Despite many players disappointing this game, Jalen Brunson stood tall, dropping a new career-high 38 points alongside seven rebounds and six assists while shooting 17-of-27 from the field and 3-of-7 from behind the arc.

This masterclass performance was the sole reason for the Knicks’ victory. Not only was Brunson cooking all game, but he hit some big-time shots down the stretch to help the Knicks pull away from the pesky Spurs.

However, this masterclass was almost for nothing thanks in part to the bench, which was rather atrocious this game and has been a problem for the majority of the season. This is odd to see as usually, the Knicks can rely on their bench to pick up the slack when the starters fail, but this season has been the opposite.

Changes need to be made to Knicks bench as they almost cost team big time versus Spurs

As I mentioned before, the Knicks bench was flat-out awful this game, shooting a combined 6-of-17 from the field while only having one player with a positive +/-. These struggles from the bench have been a regular thing in recent matchups despite the three-game win streak.

The starters have looked absolutely fantastic recently and have been the sole reason the Knicks have been winning. Normally fans criticize head coach Tom Thibodeau for overplaying his starters, but with the recent poor play of the bench lineup, Thibs has had no choice.

Unless a drastic change occurs soon, some sort of trade needs to be made in order to bring in more consistent players for the bench. Players like Isaiah Hartenstein, Miles McBride, and Evan Fournier have been extremely disappointing and at this point, it seems like they need to be replaced.

While I’d rather give McBride more time considering his inexperience, he certainly needs a reduction in minutes. When both RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin are back, the bench will be getting a boost, but this does not change the fact that the players I previously listed need to be replaced.

It seems more likely that once Toppin comes back, Jericho Sims will overtake Hartenstein as the backup center, but Hartenstein would still need to be moved, as another team will likely want his services.

Whether the front office trades the veterans who don’t receive minutes like Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish, and Fournier or trades some younger players for more consistent veterans, it is clear that something needs to change.

The starters have been performing at an incredibly high rate in recent games. In fact, two of their last three wins have been blowout victories. Considering that even in these blowouts, the bench has still been underperforming, the starters really deserve some props.

Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, and Immanuel Quickley have all been stepping up to the plate and have shown just how talented they are. They have been the reason for the Knicks’ success despite missing some important players.

Hopefully, the front office decides to make some moves soon, or else we could see these games become tougher and tougher to win. The starters can only withstand playing so many minutes for so long before they will begin to break down.

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