What, Tom Thibodeau, worry? Not this coach.
Thibodeau repeatedly sidestepped the idea that there is a playoff mandate for the Knicks after team owner James Dolan said on WFAN that he expects them to make the playoffs. Thibodeau didn’t say if he agreed with that assessment, only that what Dolan said won’t impact how he goes about his job.
“I never feel pressure because I know what I put into each day,” Thibodeau said before the Knicks lost to the Nets, 122-115, Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,100 at Barclays Center. “I think anybody who puts everything they have into each day, you never feel pressure.
“I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at Jim as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes. So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”
Thibodeau made similar comments during training camp about not feeling pressure, when the idea of job security was broached. Nothing has changed for him, as the streaky Knicks (27-24) are 1.5 games out of the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference through 51 games. He has a strong working relationship with Dolan, whom he credited for his communication and support.
During the Friday interview, Dolan also said he feels that president Leon Rose is doing a good job and is the right man to lure the most talented players in the league to the Knicks.
There remains no update on Mitchell Robinson, the elite defensive center who is rehabbing a fractured right thumb that required surgery. Robinson has been out since he suffered the injury on Jan. 18 against the Wizards.
“Just going to be reexamined. He’s running, he’s doing what he can,” Thibodeau said. “It’s obviously his hand, so he’s doing conditioning. Once he gets reexamined we’ll know more. When he’s cleared, he’s cleared.”
As for when the thumb will be looked at again, Thibodeau couldn’t provide an exact date. “He’s feeling good, doing all that he can,” he said. “When the medical people clear him, then he’s got to go through contact and that’ll be the next step.”
Evan Fournier was back on the Knicks’ bench, but did not play, after missing the last two games following the birth of his son. … Former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski attended the game. Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett played one season for him, 2018-19. … Hall of Fame Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was also in the crowd.