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Dennis Smith Jr.

Jan 10, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock (25) reacts after a three point shot against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock (25) reacts after a three point shot against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran shooter Reggie Bullock (sore neck) will miss the Knicks' game on Thursday against the Phoenix Suns, the team announced.

Bullock missed the Knicks' first 33 games of the season as he recovered from offseason surgery for a cervical disc herniation.

Since his return to action on Jan. 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Bullock has averaged 9.9 points per game in 23.6 minutes over eight games.

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The Bucks handled things from start to finish Tuesday night in Milwaukee, sending the Knicks back to New York with a 128-102 loss. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1) The Bucks came out hot and all but ended the game in the first few minutes of action, going up 18-4 less than half way through the first quarter. Despite the Knicks coming back to make it 29-23 after 12 minutes, the Bucks went on a 36-17 to take a 25-point lead at halftime. Milwaukee got out to as large as a 35-point lead Tuesday night. New York's offense struggled without its leading scorer in Marcus Morris, who missed his fifth straight game due to a neck injury.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kadeem Allen, RJ Barrett
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New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry speak to the media on media day at MSG Training Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Something worth noting on the trade front for the Knicks: two people in touch with members of the organization in the last few days said that New York remains opposed to sending out any future first-round picks in any trades under consideration.

This could be posturing from New York during trade season.

But if the Knicks are indeed committed to keeping their future first-rounders off limits, that would align with the team's strategy for the past five seasons.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Ian Begley
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Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Dennis Smith Jr. says he's ahead of schedule in his rehab from an oblique injury, but there's no definitive timetable for his return. 

"I'm actually healing faster (than projections). I heard people say with the oblique strain it could be two months or however long, so I'm actually healing along pretty fast," Smith Jr. said on Sunday. "I'm going through the process and working at it every day."

Smith Jr. has missed nine consecutive games with the ailment. He's been limited in contact portions of practice. He's been listed as questionable for several games but ultimately ruled out. 

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

The Knicks put out their injury report Friday morning ahead of their matchup with the Pelicans at Madison Square Garden, and it looks like they could be very short-handed.

Julius Randle will miss his second straight game due to personal reasons, which head coach Mike Miller later clarified as being family matters. 

In addition to missing Randle in the starting lineup, Marcus Morris is doubtful to play Friday night due to a sore neck. Morris has missed the last two games.

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Jan 1, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) goes in for a shot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) and guard Kent Bazemore (24) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 1, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) goes in for a shot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) and guard Kent Bazemore (24) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Knicks forward Julius Randle (personal reasons) will miss his second straight game on Friday when the team takes on the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden, the team announced.

Interim head coach Mike Miller said on Wednesday prior to the team's game against the Utah Jazz that it was a family issue.

Randle is averaging 18.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game through 37 contests in his first season with the Knicks.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson
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Jan 7, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) defends in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 7, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) defends in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

On a three-game losing streak as they wrap up their road trip with Wednesday's 9 p.m. ET game against the Utah Jazz, the Knicks are limping to the finish line.

New York announced a handful of injuries, starting with forward Kevin Knox (sprained right ankle) and center Mitchell Robinson (sprained left big toe), who are both probable.

Rounding out the injury report, point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (strained left oblique) is questionable while small forward Marcus Morris (sore neck) is doubtful. Power forward Julius Randle, meanwhile, is out due to personal reasons.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Something worth noting on the trade deadline: Several teams in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that they aren't solely focused on acquiring draft picks, expiring contracts or young players who have struggled with other teams.

Those teams say the Knicks have shown an interest in acquiring starter-level players who can help the team in the short-term and in future seasons, per sources. 

That's interesting to note because the Knicks are 10-27, tied for the third-worst record in the NBA, and the front office faces a tenuous future because of the team's poor play. 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Ian Begley
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Ahead of their matchup with the Lakers Tuesday night, the Knicks announced that Marcus Morris and Dennis Smith Jr. have been ruled out for the game.

Morris, who is coming off a career-high 38-point performance against the Clippers, has a sore neck, while Smith Jr. continues to sit with a strained left oblique.

The Knicks could've really used Morris, who has arguably been the best player on the team this season, against the No. 1 team in the western conference in the Lakers. The forward leads New York this season with 19.1 points per game.

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Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Knicks will be without Dennis Smith Jr. for Wednesday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but New York is set to welcome a key offseason addition back into the fold.

Ahead of the 7:30 p.m. tip-off between the Knicks (9-24) and the Blazers (14-20) at Madison Square Garden, Reggie Bullock (cervical disc herniation) and Frank Ntilikina (sore groin) are available to play.

Smith Jr., meanwhile is out for with a strained left oblique. He was inactive for the past two games, starting with missing last Thursday's 94-82 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina
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The Knicks' bench could be shorthanded Saturday night in Washington, with multiple key role players listed on New York's injury report on Friday.

Wayne Ellington (sore left Achilles) and Mitchell Robinson (sprained left great toe) are listed as questionable to suit up, meaning a potential absence of a three-point sniper and a double-double machine for the Knicks.

Dennis Smith Jr. will also be out for the Knicks for the second straight game as he continues to nurse a strained left oblique.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Wayne Ellington
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Dec 1, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 1, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, "rival teams believe Dennis Smith Jr. prefers a move from the Knicks. Several teams have made inquiries into the Knicks about Smith."

Smith Jr. is in his second season with the team after being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks for Kristaps Porzingis on Jan. 31, 2019. The point guard out of NC State is averaging just 5.2 points per game in 16.1 minutes of action this season for the Knicks.

SNY's Ian Begley had previously reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves are among several teams interested in trading for Smith Jr.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kristaps Porzingis
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks on Thursday must've looked a lot like the team management envisioned when they built the roster in July. 

Julius Randle (33 points on 14-for-26 shooting, 8 rebounds) dominated on offense. The ball moved well, thanks in part to Elfrid Payton (13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists). Marcus Morris complemented Randle (22 points, 8 rebounds) and the Knicks limited Brooklyn to an NBA season-low 27 percent shooting.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Guard Dennis Smith Jr. will be out for the Knicks on Thursday night with a strained left oblique when they take on the Nets at Barclays Center, the team announced.

He played just seven minutes on Monday during the Knicks' 121-115 loss to the Washington Wizards, recording one rebound in the game.

Smith Jr. is averaging 16.1 minutes per game this season over 21 contests, while scoring 5.2 points per game on 31.5 percent shooting.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Wayne Ellington
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

If you want to know just how bad things are for the Knicks right now, just read what Julius Randle had to say about the loss to the Wizards

"It should've never gotten to that point, to be honest with you. We should've never been in that position. Just from top to bottom, how we approached this game was terrible. It can't happen. This can't happen."

Randle and other Knicks said they weren't focused during the morning shootaround; those focus issues bled into their loss to a Wizards team that was missing six of its eight top scorers. 

Tags: Damyean Dotson, Dennis Smith Jr., Ian Begley
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Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 7, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The first trimester of the 2019-20 NBA season has passed and the New York Knicks are still looking for answers. They are tied for the third worst record in the NBA at 6-23. The point guard position battle has been a wash, and the trio of Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton has been inconsistent with very few flashes of exceptional play. 

None of the point guards have pulled away from the pack, which has caused inconsistent rotations and sporadic playing time for all three players. With only 48 minutes to be divvied up, interim head coach Mike Miller has his hands full attempting to split up playing time. Ntilikina was a starter for 23 of the past 24 games before Payton opened up Saturday night's 123-102 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

As SNY's Ian Begley reported, teams are under the impression that the Knicks are open to moving a point guard. The position has been a major weakness for New York this season, and based off of the small sample size, New York's starting point guard of the future is not on the roster currently.

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As the Knicks continue to figure out their point guard rotation this season, Mike Miller made his first adjustment to the starting lineup since taking over as head coach.

Elfrid Payton got the nod at the one spot for the Knicks Saturday night when they faced the Bucks at Madison Square Garden, a spot that for a majority of the season had gone to Frank Ntilikina.

Ironically enough, Payton had actually won the starting spot in training camp to start the season, but got injured just a few games in, leading to Ntilikina being inserted into the lineup thereafter.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina
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Frank Ntilikina
Frank Ntilikina

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

With the trade deadline a few weeks away, we've been asking teams about the trade value of some of the Knicks. Here's what three teams had to say about Marcus Morris. We also asked a few teams about Frank Ntilikina's value:

"They drafted him at eight (Ntilikina was the eighth overall pick in 2017) and they're obviously not going to get back a top-10 pick for him," one team said. "But he still has value. A lot of people value him around the league because he's still young (21) and he plays defense. His shot isn't there, but there's reason to think he can improve. Getting a second round pick for him, that's not even a question. I'm not sure about a first, maybe a late first. You can't rule it out. Crazier things have happened in this league."

The Knicks seemed committed to moving Ntilikina before the 2019 NBA Draft. But they couldn't find a deal that they liked. There's no indication at the moment that they're as eager to move him now as they were in June.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Marcus Morris has played for seven coaches in the NBA, so he's well equipped to comment on the coaching profession. And, so far, he likes what he's seen from Mike Miller

"You've got to give Mike credit," Morris said. "It's unfortunate that Fiz got released but Mike's come in, being able to have a team that was kind of wounded and being able to kind of pull it together and get us going in the right direction, that's tough for any coach. He's dealing with it very well."

The Knicks are 3-3 under Miller, while winning just four of 22 games under David Fizdale. Based on that alone, it's clear that New York has improved under their interim head coach. And the players seem to have bought in.  

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Trade season started, unofficially, on Sunday. That was the first day most free agents who signed over the summer were eligible to be moved. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 6, so there's plenty of time for teams to discuss potential deals.

It will be interesting to see how the Knicks approach the trade season, as the seven veterans they signed over the summer are now eligible to be moved. At 7-21, New York could be willing to trade some of those veterans to acquire future assets, and give younger players more minutes/chances to develop.

But, as noted earlier this month, it's unclear if they'll take that approach. Instead, they may look for ways to improve the roster in the short-term.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Ian Begley
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Knicks put together not just their best game this season, but one of their best performances in recent memory, in what was a full-team effort during their 143-120 win over the Hawks on Tuesday night.

Six Knicks scored in double figures Tuesday, and every Knick that touched the floor managed to score, as they showed what this team could look like if they put together united efforts like this one on a consistent basis.

"A hundred percent," Dennis Smith Jr. said after the game when asked if the vibe of the team was to go have fun out there on the floor Tuesday night. "We put up 140 and it was like spread across, you know everybody got touches and everybody got shots so we want to try and put out that effort every night."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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Th Knicks (7-21) came to play right out of the gate after returning from their west coast trip, as they absolutely dismantled the Hawks (6-22) 143-120 in what was Vince Carter's final game at Madison Square Garden >> Box Score

Five things to know from Tuesday's game

1) The Knicks were happy to return to the Garden on Tuesday night and they showed it, scoring a season-high 41 points in the first quarter, by far their best 12 minutes of the year that included a 13-0 run to end the quarter.

New York continued its dominance into the second and third quarters, extending that run to 21-0 and scoring 77 points in the first half alone. At 81-53 in the third, the Knicks took their largest lead in a game this season and extended it to 84-53 to take a 31-point lead at a point.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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Dec 15, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) dribbles the ball up court as New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) guards in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sportss (Isaiah J. Downing)
Dec 15, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) dribbles the ball up court as New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) guards in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sportss (Isaiah J. Downing)

After the Knicks consecutive wins over the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, New York fell short of three straight Sunday, falling 111-105 to the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver and ultimately splitting the past week's four-game road trip. >> Box Score

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Ahead of their matchup with the Kings in Sacramento Friday night, the Knicks put out their injury report, which included Wayne Ellington being ruled out for the game.

Ellington has been ruled out with a sore left Achilles that is bothering the guard. 

Additionally, Dennis Smith Jr., who's been dealing with an illness this week, is probable to play.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Wayne Ellington
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Dec 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket with a pick set by Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) against Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports  (Michael McLoone)
Dec 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket with a pick set by Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) against Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports (Michael McLoone)

As the Knicks continue their four-game road trip on the West Coast, they do so without Dennis Smith Jr.

The point guard is out for Wednesday's 10:30 p.m. ET game against the Golden State Warriors due to illness.

The 22-year-old Smith is averaging 5.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 17.2 minutes through 17 games.

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Before and after their game Saturday night against the Pacers, Knicks players spoke to the media and reacted to the firing of David Fizdale on Friday afternoon.

Here's what a few of them had to say:

RJ BARRETT

"I appreciate everything coach Fizdale and coach (Keith) Smart have done for me. They were the first ones to give me a chance in the league so I appreciate them. I spoke to coach Fizdale. Wished me the best.''

Barrett added that he spoke with management after the firing, but kept the details to himself: "Oh that's private. I can't talk about what management told me."

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Dec 1, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale reacts after a turnover against the Boston Celtics during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 1, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale reacts after a turnover against the Boston Celtics during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

We are at about the quarter-way point of the NBA season and the Knicks find themselves with the second worst record in the league and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

At 4-17, the Knicks have fallen to new lows and are on pace to break the record they tied last season for the worst season in team history. 

Head coach David Fizdale has been in an extremely hot seat ever since Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry held a rare press conference after the team started the season 2-8. 

Since then, the Knicks have gone 2-9.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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Dec 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots over New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis (1) in the first quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports  (Michael McLoone)
Dec 2, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots over New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis (1) in the first quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports (Michael McLoone)

The Knicks never led in Monday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks and dropped their seventh straight game, 132-88. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1) Milwaukee jumped out to a 33-15 lead after the first quarter and coasted the rest of the way to a victory. Khris Middleton's three-pointer on the first position of the game set the tone, and the Knicks were never closer on the scoreboard than they were at the opening tip-off.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kadeem Allen
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The Knicks were outscored 32-14 in the fourth quarter, eventually losing 113-104 to the Celtics at Madison Square Garden. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1) Julius Randle led the Knicks with 26 points and five rebounds, but went 0-for-5 from three in the game. The team as a whole went just 8-for-26 (30.8 percent) from three, while the Celtics shot 15-for-41 from three (36.6 percent).

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The Knicks played their best defensive first half all season, but fell apart in the second half, losing 101-95 to the 76ers on Friday night. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Friday's game

1) The Knicks got out to a 31-18 lead in the first quarter, as the team went 5-for-8 from three point land. It was the first time all season that they gave up less than 20 points in the first quarter. Rookie RJ Barrett led the way, scoring 10 points after playing all 12 minutes.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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While the Knicks ultimately fell down the stretch of Wednesday's 109-104 loss to the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, New York emerged with optimism after Frank Ntilikina's performance.

Ntilikina's season-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including three free throws and two triples, in 32:54 fueled the Knicks (4-11) before the Sixers (9-5) came back for the fourth-quarter triumph.

David Fizdale's decision to substitute Ntilikina late in the third quarter hindered the Knicks during the Sixers' eventual 23-3 run from the 3:20 mark of the third to the 9:00 point of the fourth, turning a 77-60 Knicks lead to an 83-82 Sixers edge, but the third-year point guard defended his second-year head coach's move after the game.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

When Julius Randle watched tape of his games early on this season, he knew what was going wrong. He knew he was over dribbling at times, struggling with the double and triple teams being thrown his way. But nothing changed on the court. 

"He kept burning his hand on the stove and not learning his lesson," David Fizdale said. "I think, you burn it enough, you're like, 'OK, I've got to make this change.'"

Change started to come for Randle and the Knicks on Monday. Randle had 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists in New York's win over Cleveland in easily his best game as a Knick. 

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Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier

Hornets G Terry Rozier had himself a fine night at Madison Square Garden in what became a tough 103-102 loss for the Knicks on Saturday night. But there was a point in time, back in the offseason, where Rozier thought he would be part of the home team.

Rozier had the Knicks in mind during his search for a new team in free agency. He had proven his worth as the Celtics' sixth man, and was ready to get paid. New York certainly had the cap space, but they didn't shell out enough of it. 

"It was probably one of my first options," Rozier told The Post's Marc Berman. "I probably was going to make it happen. Other things happened and I ended up going to Charlotte. It was the interest they showed in me, that was big. The organization believed in me, why not."

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The Knicks (3-10) couldn't hold on again Saturday night, as they blew a double-digit third quarter lead and ultimately fell 103-102 to the Hornets (6-7) on a go-ahead three-pointer. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Saturday's game...

1) Once again, the Knicks allowed one player--this time Devonte Graham--go off on them and crush their spirits. Graham, a 2018 second round pick out of Kanas, hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 2.1 second left to send the Knicks packing. Graham scored 26 points and hit a stunning nine three-pointers to shut the Knicks down on their home floor.

 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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The Knicks earned their third win of the season on Thursday night, beating the Mavs 106-103, as two of their wins have come against Dallas.

Head coach David Fizdale talked about the team's struggles at home earlier this week, and also mentioned what went wrong after beating the Mavs on Nov. 11.

"I don't think it was complacency. I really don't," Fizdale said on Friday. "I really felt like this team is just trying to do so well for the city. I really do. Their intentions are right. They're trying to carry the weight of the city on their shoulders. I just told them you can't do that. I said it's an impossible task. You've got to focus on who's around you in the locker room and put forth effort for the people in the locker room and the city will appreciate that kind of effort. So hopefully we learned that lesson from last night."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Kristaps Porzingis, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

After the Knicks' win over the Mavericks on Thursday, Dennis Smith Jr. spent some time reflecting at his locker. 

"It was kind of bittersweet for me, beating the team that traded me but my stepmom wasn't here to see it," Smith Jr. said. "…. I had to take some time out to myself and really digest something like that. She watched every game. Every single game. Even when I was in college.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

A couple weeks ago, Frank Ntilikina walked into David Fizdale's office, unannounced, and delivered a message: 

"He just said, 'Coach, I've been through a lot in my two years. I feel like I finally understand what the NBA is about. I know I haven't shown it yet, but I'm a dog, too,'" Fizdale said. "It was so cool to hear him say that. And (Thursday against Dallas) he showed that he is really a junkyard dog when it comes to competition."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Dennis Smith Jr. has been through his share of adversity this season. After an injury during training camp, a death in the family took the guard away from the team for two weeks.

On Thursday night, Smith Jr. shined for the Knicks as the team topped the Mavs 106-103 for their second win against Kristaps Porzingis this season. 

In just his second game back with the team, Smith Jr. scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, and also had a team-high eight assists to go along with six rebounds in 29 minutes.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kristaps Porzingis
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The Knicks (3-9) faced the Dallas Mavs (6-5) for the second time this season, winning again, this time 106-103 as former Knick Kristaps Porzingis made his return to Madison Square Garden >> Box Score

Here are Five Takeaway's from Thursday's game...

1) Marcus Morris led the way for the Knicks in scoring with 20 points, including a go-ahead three pointer with 13.4 seconds left in the game. He was 5-for-7 from three in the game, and had five rebounds in 34 minutes.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, Mitchell Robinson
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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

Dennis Smith Jr. was back in the Knicks lineup on Tuesday night against the Bulls, but it wasn't the return he hoped for. 

Though it was his first game back since Oct. 26 after the passing of his stepmother, Smith saw 14 minutes of playing time by head coach David Fizdale. And that time on the court, it was apparent Smith hadn't played in a game recently. 

He went 0-for-3 from the field while committing two turnovers. Smith did, however, dish out two assists and collected two steals on the night. 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr.
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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Knicks (2-9) faced the Bulls (4-7) for a second time in the early season, but weren't able to get the win this time around, as Chicago pulled away in the fourth quarter to take a 120-102 victory>> Box Score

Here are Five Takeaway's from Tuesday's game...

1) Just as they did in their first matchup with the Bulls, the Knicks came back from a double-digit first half deficit to make things interesting by the end of the third with things tied at 85 heading into the fourth quarter. But rookie PG Coby White just exploded in the fourth quarter, hitting seven 3-pointers to break the Bulls back out to a double-digit lead, as the Knicks just had no answer for them in the last 12 minutes of play. White set a Bulls franchise record for 3-pointers in a quarter with seven and scored a career-high 27 points.

 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett
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Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball against Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Dennis Smith Jr. will make his return to the Knicks' lineup on Tuesday night, per The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov

Smith has been out since Oct. 26, as he has been with his family grieving the loss of his stepmother. The Knicks were giving him all the time he needed before making his return to the team. 

Smith has been back with the Knicks since last week, and it was believed that he may be able to play against the Mavericks on Friday night. However, the team wanted to make sure he was game-ready, and decided to wait until Tuesday against the Bulls. 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr.
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

David Fizdale hasn't decided yet if Frank Ntilikina will start at point guard when Elfrid Payton is healthy. But it certainly sounds like Fizdale will keep Ntilikina in the starting lineup when Payton returns -- as long as he and the Knicks are playing well. 

Here's what Fizdale said when asked on Sunday if Payton, who has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury, will start at point guard when he returns to the lineup:  

"I'm going to base it on how things are going for us at the time when he gets back," Fizdale said. "If things are going well, we'll probably stay with what we're doing. If for some reason it's not, maybe we'll look at putting him back in there. But we won't make that decision until the time comes."

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Oct 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket as Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) defends during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket as Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) defends during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Smith Jr. will be inactive for the Knicks Friday night as they face Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks in Dallas.

Smith Jr, who was a part of the trade that sent Porzingis to Dallas, hasn't played for the Knicks since Oct. 26, after suffering the loss of a family member that same night. Smith Jr. returned to the team earlier this week after being absent to mourn with his family.

Between Smith Jr.'s absence and Elfrid Payton's hamstring injury, Frank Ntilikina has been starting at the point guard position for the Knicks. Although the lineups haven't been released for Friday's game, Ntilikina should be expected to start.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Knicks are in Dallas to play Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavs on Friday for the first time since the trade. So there will be plenty written and said about the deal over the next couple of days. 

Below, let's try to separate fact from opinion: 

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, Ian Begley
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Oct 11, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards guard Justin Robinson (5) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 11, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards guard Justin Robinson (5) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Through the past two games, Knicks head coach David Fizdale has given Frank Ntilikina the start at point guard. And it doesn't look like he has a choice yet again against the Pistons on Wednedsay night. 

Elfrid Payton has been dealing with a hamstring injury, and he has already been ruled out during this two-game road trip in Detroit and Dallas. Also, Dennis Smith Jr. has yet to return as he continues to be with his family following the passing of his stepmother. 

So Ntilikina should get the start against the Pistons. But, no matter the loss of the other point guards in the system, how long should Fizdale keep him in that role? 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Scott Thompson
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Mitchell Robinson will start at center on Wednesday against Detroit. The Knicks want Robinson defending Pistons big man Andre Drummond. This will be the fifth different starting lineup for New York in eight games. 

Some of the lineup shifts are due to injury (Elfrid Payton) and others are the result of David Fizdale and his staff trying to figure out New York's optimal player groupings. 

Experimenting with different lineups during the season isn't ideal. In a perfect world, teams have lineups and rotations set coming into the season. But that's rare in today's NBA, where there's so much roster turnover every summer. Depending on the night, the Knicks (1-6) could have six players in their rotation who weren't on the team last season.

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Knicks starting point guard Elfird Payton has been ruled out for Wednesday night's road game against the Magic with a strained right hamstring. 

Payton, who exited Monday night's game against the Bulls after suffering the injury, traveled with the Knicks to Orlando in hopes of playing, but now has officially been ruled out.

Payton has averaged 8.0 points and 3.8 assists per game through four games in a Knicks uniform.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett
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Mar 4, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) walks off the court during the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports (Sergio Estrada)
Mar 4, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) walks off the court during the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports (Sergio Estrada)

Knicks team president Steve Mills spoke for the entire organization on Tuesday when he offered condolences to Dennis Smith Jr. and Reggie Bullock, who both lost close family members. 

"Our Knicks family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of two of our players' close family members," the official statement read. "At times like this, we are reminded that life is bigger than basketball. Our thoughts are with them and their families."

The Knicks announced that Smith lost his stepmother, while Bullock lost his sister. 

Tags: Dennis Smith Jr.
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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

In the NBA, teams usually get the day off after playing two consecutive games. But the Knicks lost in Brooklyn on Friday and were embarrassed at home by Boston on Saturday, so they lost the luxury of an off day on Sunday. 

"Coach Fiz was on our tails yesterday," Bobby Portis said. "We were supposed to have an off-day….We came in and still put the work in."

The work wasn't apparent early on Monday against Chicago. But a key adjustment in the second half - and some timely shooting from Portis - helped New York rebound from a 18-point deficit to win for the first time this season. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington, Ian Begley
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