Tom Thibodeau’s tirade wakes up Knicks in win


WASHINGTON — After the Knicks lost the momentum in the third quarter and nearly squandered a big lead, coach Tom Thibodeau called a timeout with a message for his team that was apparently too obscene to repeat.

“I can’t [say it],” Jalen Brunson said. “Basically, his message was, ‘Be better.’ ”

The Knicks obliged and immediately turned a five-point lead into 16 within about five minutes. It pushed the Wizards out of the game for good, and the Knicks left Capital One Arena with Saturday’s 121-105 win, their fourth straight victory.

Thibodeau also didn’t want to divulge his words during the timeout. Clearly, he was angry.

“You don’t want to know,” Thibodeau said.

Julius Randle provided the details suitable for children.

Tom Thibodeau's third quarter tirade helped snapped the Knicks out of their malaise in the 121-105 win over the Wizards.
Tom Thibodeau’s third quarter tirade helped snapped the Knicks out of their malaise in the 121-105 win over the Wizards. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“They were just playing zone, trying to junk the game up, trying to slow us down, and we weren’t executing,” Randle said. “They were leaking out off of bad offensive possessions by us and getting easy layups in transition and 3s and stuff like that. We just had to execute on that end so we could get our defense set.”

The highlight of the game came from Miles McBride, the reserve guard and underrated leaper who jammed a putback dunk over multiple Wizards to end the first quarter.

It elicited quite a reaction from the Knicks bench and gave the visitors a 15-point lead heading into the second quarter.

Thibodeau is unequivocally ready to take Taj Gibson on his staff.

Thibodeau said he’d “100 percent” give one of his favorite players an assistant coaching spot, a transition that could happen sooner than later.

Gibson was contemplating retirement before being summoned by the Knicks for a one-year contract to be center insurance because Mitchell Robinson underwent ankle surgery.

He was thrust into action because of a later injury to Jericho Sims, but the arrival of Precious Achiuwa has again left Gibson out of the rotation.

If Gibson isn’t waived before Jan. 10, his contract will be guaranteed for the remainder of the season.

Then maybe there’s a future as a Knicks assistant coach.

“I’m still considering that. But it has to be the right situation,” Gibson said. “I want to be somewhere where I can learn, brighten my future. This is a bright spot for me, being around the coaching staff who I can learn from. … Here I’m so locked into the coaching staff. They basically taught me how to be a pro. It only fits right where I can learn, just fall right into place.”

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