Tom Thibodeau Addresses Donte DiVincenzo’s Playoff Slump with Knicks

There hasn’t been a more back and forth, first-round playoff series in the NBA than the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers five-game dogfight.

It’s not over yet.

New York lost an overtime bout with Philadelphia in Game 5, despite Jalen Brunson going off for 40 points in 51 minutes played.

His starting backcourt partner, Donte DiVincenzo, finished the game with just 9 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field.

DiVincenzo finished the regular season as the Knicks’ second-leading scorer, with Julius Randle sidelined and RJ Barrett traded to the Toronto Raptors.

He’s off to a slow start in his fist postseason with the team.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau addressed the guard’s untimely shooting slump after the Game 5 loss.

“Just keep trusting your shot,” Thibodeau told SNY postgame. “He puts the work in.”

DiVincenzo averaged 15.5 points on a 44/40/75 shooting split in the regular season.

Through five playoff games, he’s averaging just 9.8 points on an 33/30/88 split.

New York needs more scoring, up 3-2, ahead of a critical Game 6 on the road.

And not just from Brunson.

It doesn’t help that their options took a serious blow with another season-ending injury.

Bogdanovic Out For Season

“Next man up” has been the overarching theme of this New York Knicks’ season.

After losing Mitchell Robinson for 50 games, and Randle with a season-ending shoulder injury, they fought on, winning 50 games and earning the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference.

They’ll need to replicate their regular season resilience, now down another double-digit scorer in Bojan Bogdanovic.

According to Bruno Feliks of Basketball Sphere, the veteran forward is to undergo season-ending surgeries on May 1.

“Bogdanovic suffered a serious ankle injury during the Game 4 of the New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers series in Philadelphia, in a duel with Nicolas Batum,” Feliks wrote on April 30. “…Upon returning to New York, after undergoing an MRI, it was determined that Bogdanovic’s ankle was seriously injured and that he would need surgery, which is already scheduled for Wednesday.”

Bogdanovic played a critical role down the stretch in New York’s Game 2 win.

Game 2 Bojan won’t be forgotten

— The Strickland (@TheStrickland) April 30, 2024

Feliks reports that in addition to ankle surgery, Bogdanovic will also have surgery to address a wrist injury.

“Having previously struggled with issues in his left hand, barely playing in the last few games and enduring significant pain, Bogdanovic knew that after the season he would require surgery on his hand” Feliks continued. “Now, it’s quite certain that the Knicks small forward will have to undergo not just one, but two surgeries: first on his ankle, and then, in a couple of weeks, on his hand.”

After averaging 20.2 points per game on 41.5-percent shooting from three with the Pistons, he averaged just 10.4 points on 37-percent with New York in 29 regular-season games.

But in a series where they need scoring more than ever, Bogdanovic’s presence, no matter the capacity, will be missed.

Next man up, indeed.

History Still Favors the Knicks

According to Land of Basketball, of the 281 teams to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA playoffs, only 13 have given it up and lost the series.

Land of Basketball says 78 of the winning teams went on to do so in Game 6.

Of the 35 series to go to Game 7, 22 won after originally taking the 3-1 lead.

Game 6 will take place on Philadelphia’s home floor at the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers boasted a 25-16 record in the regular season.

New York has shown they can win in the hostile environment with their Game 4 win.

Even with the heartbreaking Game 5 loss, you’d be hard pressed to find a Knicks fan that isn’t cautiously optimistic on the series outlook.

Rightfully so.

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