Just as it seemed that the Knicks were starting to gain their footing under interim head coach Mike Miller, winning three straight for the first time this season in late December into New Year's Day, the team has again fallen into a tailspin.
After that quick three-game streak, the Knicks have since lost five straight games, with the latest loss coming in Friday night's 123-111 loss to the Pelicans at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks are now 10-29 on the season, and while the team has recently been without their two leading scorers in Marcus Morris (sore neck) and Julius Randle (personal reasons), veteran Taj Gibson knows that the key right now is just to stay together so the Knicks can come out of this skid a better team.
"Just regroup. Get guys back healthy, get guys back in the swing of things," Gibson said. "This road trip was pretty tough. Like I've been telling guys the last couple of days, just regroup, just regroup. These games are going to happen through some parts of the season. You've just got to weather the storm, especially with the number of guys we have down and a lot of guys that we've got banged up. It's all about guys stepping up, young guys just getting better.
"We all just try to keep pushing each other and bring each other in as a whole, instead of just separating. … Just get ready for the next one."
Gibson stepped up his game offensively on Friday, scoring a season high 19 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting night from the floor. The Knicks have desperately been in need of offensive production of late, and without their two leading scorers, Gibson took advantage against the Pelicans.
"My teammates were looking for me. I was just trying to bring some energy, whatever I could do, just being a veteran and trying to get the young guys involved," Gibson said. "I understood that we were down a couple of our key players in (Morris) and (Randle), and just tried to do my part. Guys were looking for me. It just sucks we came up short, but the NBA is all about rhythm and confidence."
Gibson has taken on a leadership role this season for the Knicks, mentoring rising star center Mitchell Robinson. But it was Gibson who led the way for New York, though it was ultimately not enough.
"They had a number of different guys stepping up. A lot of different guys hitting some tough shots," Gibson said of the Pelicans. "They hit a lot of threes early in the game. I felt like they got comfortable. We tried to slow them down, but just pace of the game, they got hot late and they got some good contributions from their young players, especially off the bench, and it was a tough game."
Gibson and the Knicks will be back in action on Sunday at home against the Miami Heat.