The New York Knicks coach, Tom Thibodeau, benched his starters for the entire fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, over issues with the team’s performance; however, he dismissed the idea that they need more time to develop chemistry with each other.

“You know what they say: When it’s 10 games, they say you need 20,” Thibodeau said. “When you say 20, they say you need 30; at 30, you say 40 and before you know it, the season is over. So that’s a bunch of bulls—.”

Every one of the starters was at least minus-15 in Wednesday’s game, and only Mitchell Robinson finished with a plus-minus better than minus-20.

And now it is clear to see that New York’s starting lineup is not working. The lineup – Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Robinson – has played more minutes than any other five-man unit in the NBA this season. But it has been outscored by 14.4 points per 100 possessions so far this season and has a defensive rating of 119.3 – more than seven points worse than the worst-ranked team defense in the NBA this season.

Thibodeau didn’t play any of them from the 2:01 mark of the third quarter, when he took out Randle in favor of Obi Toppin, until the end of the game, instead opting to ride the all-bench grouping of Derrick RoseAlec BurksImmanuel Quickley, Toppin and Taj Gibson.

“Yeah, just they didn’t play well,” Thibodeau commented on his decision to sit the starters. “That’s it. We’ve gotta figure it out. And right now we’re playing well on the road and we’re not playing well at home, which is unusual. So we’ve gotta get that straightened out.”

“We were just searching,” Thibodeau said, explaining his decision to keep the reserves on the court. “Once we got the intensity into the game, got some stops, shared the ball, got some easy scores, got a good rhythm going, I thought the bench played well.”

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