Keith Schlosser

Keith Schlosser is Lead Writer of SNY's TheKnicksBlog.com and Managing Editor of RidiculousUpside.com. Follow him on Twitter @KeithBSchlosser

 (Nelson Chenault)
(Nelson Chenault)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

With De'Aaron Fox garnering attention following Kentucky's Elite Eight loss, Malik Monk is still finding himself underrated and in his teammate's shadow.

Though the Knicks are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the team obviously has too much pride to come right out and say they're tanking the rest of the way. New York is arguably likely to end up with a pick between the ranges of 5 through 10. Should this be the case, Monk could receive consideration as their guy.

Tags: Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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 (Erik Williams)
(Erik Williams)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

At this point in the year, Knicks basketball is difficult to watch. The team doesn't appear to know which direction they are headed. Built like a squad hoping to compete sooner than later, the failures are abound.

However, the front office simply cannot afford to change this roster around yet again. There will be returning pieces, and New York should use the rest of the season as a trial period for those who intrigue them. They should prepare for next season so they can move away from this one's struggles.

Tags: Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Keith Schlosser
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Jan 27, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson (right) watches during the third quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 27, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson (right) watches during the third quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

As the Knicks ponder their future, there's no doubt Phil Jackson and his administration have uncovered some promising gems that can be used as building blocks for years to come. 

Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez obviously come to mind right away. Signing Mindaguas Kuzminskas from overseas was also a solid move. And while the team has lacked some very crucial draft picks, taking chances on undrafted guards like Ron Baker and Chasson Randle has already begun to pay off for New York. They, too, are capable of playing roles in the team's positive future.

With so much promise in the team's youth and the front office's ability to evaluate up and coming talent, something just doesn't fit. Players are feeling the pressure and the team has appeared to hit rock bottom. As they near closer to a fourth consecutive year without a postseason appearance (third under Jackson), all is clearly not right in paradise.

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New York Knicks shooting guard Ron Baker (31) drives against Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner)
New York Knicks shooting guard Ron Baker (31) drives against Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

With the release of Brandon Jennings and a likely season-ending injury to Joakim Noah, Knicks have a newfound freedom to explore what this team could be like next season. There's room to acquire somewhat of a taste. Noah figures to be around, but his inability to play big minutes leaves a question mark around his pending impact. As for Jennings, New York had seen enough after signing him to a one-year deal. This simply wasn't the right fit for him.

Win or lose, New York needs to continue examining which of their already in place pieces are worth keeping moving forward. That's what the next month plus should be about. There's an opportunity to answer questions regarding the future. Will this stay of execution past the trade deadline prove Carmelo Anthony can take somewhat of a backseat and play a supporting role to Kristaps PorzingisDerrick Rose still leaves something to be desired on the court, but does do some positive things. Can he still fit and be retained at a reasonable price this offseason? Which of the team's youngsters have the potential to flourish in an expanded roles? Here's a look at some opportunities that could prove to be small stepping stones for this team as they plan ahead.

Balanced point guard play: With Jennings in town, the Knicks had two offensively minded floor generals who both looked to score. He and Derrick Rose simply weren't the best match, despite how talented each one was. 

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas (42) looks up after a play during the first half against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina)
New York Knicks forward Lance Thomas (42) looks up after a play during the first half against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. (Troy Taormina)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

With little to no lingering effects of the orbital and plantar fasciitis injuries he's battled this season, Lance Thomas is finally playing at the level the Knicks knew he was capable of. Averaging 10.8 points on 58% shooting and 5.5 rebounds over his last four games, the forward is simply making the right plays that help New York on both ends of the floor. They've gone 2-2, with one of those losses being a last second heartbreaker to Toronto. The team is playing at an elevated level and Thomas has been a big part of that.

After a dismal campaign to this point, suddenly making a playoff push (being 4 games out with 21 left) still doesn't seem so much out of the realm of possibility. Carmelo Anthony is playing at a high level, Kristaps Porzingis has returned from injury, Thomas is filling his role, and Joakim Noah's season-ending injury may prove to be a blessing in disguise because it allows other players to be given deserved opportunities. Thomas is included in that conversation, especially because the Knicks had settled into a comfortable rotation with him on the sidelines. Noah's absence should continue to open things up. 

Everyone wants to win. Just about every player has the hunger to compete. Unfortunately, fighting tooth and nail to break in to the postseason as an eighth seed (only to get swept right out) isn't what's best for the long term future of the franchise. Coincidentally so, keeping Thomas past this year might not be, either

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek during second half against Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek during second half against Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

As hope of competing for a postseason spot fades away, the Knicks' focus will become making evaluations and building for next year. When management reflects upon this season's shortcomings, a failure to execute the triangle offense properly figures to always be a topic of conversation with Phil Jackson running the show.

Jackson's third full season as Knicks executive is nearing its end. He's had plenty of opportunities to make judgement calls and usher in the players he believes best fit his desired system. At some point (perhaps the team has already reached it), he won't be able to point fingers anymore. Should players be poor fits or not be producing, that says more about Jackson than it does them. It's a reflection upon his inability to put together a successful team. It's time to look in the mirror.

Such a mentality is also worth noting, not only as he evaluates his players, but the coaching staff as well. With a 24-36 record, the Knicks are currently worse off now than they were at this point in the season last season. Jeff Hornacek is not at fault.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

 

Courtney Lee was red hot during the Knicks' one-point loss Monday night, scoring double figures in the first half alone. He also proved to be clutch with a late-game dagger that kept the Knicks afloat into the closing seconds. After logging five steals and two blocks against the Raptors, one has to wonder why he wasn't put on DeRozen during that last possession. Between Thomas, the screen, and the switch of Derrick Rose, Lee was positioned elsewhere.

Lee is obviously known for his defense, but his offensive game is on the rise. Really hitting his stride over the last 10 games, Lee has averaged 12.2 points on 54 percent from the field and 46 percent from deep. There's a certain swagger that has been oozing out of him lately. Perhaps the Knicks have even more of a versatile talent than initially realized. Lee is valuable...

Tags: Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek instructs Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden (Adam Hunger)
New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek instructs Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden (Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

By the time NBA All-Star Weekend came to a close, there was refreshing optimism in the air surrounding the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony and Willy Hernangomez were late additions to the festivities. Kristaps Porzingis went home a winner after snagging the trophy at the Skills Challenge. Following the passing of the trade deadline, New York stood pat. After a spirited Cleveland loss and an exhilarating win against the 76ers, signs led to the Knicks wanting to remain competitive, for better or worse.

But alas, reality has begun to set in. Waiving Brandon Jennings may be the domino effect for the tone of the rest of the season. The dust probably hasn't cleared. More changes could be on the way. It's time to look towards the future, build towards the draft, embrace and explore more youthful talent, etc. With that in mind, here's a look at the Knicks will face in the week ahead and beyond.

Defensive Communication: The Knicks' defense has been a raw source of frustration for this team all season long. Frankly, it's a bit strange to see a squad that added players like Joakim NoahCourtney Lee, and Willy Hernangomez in the offseason struggle on that end of the floor. Clearly, putting up a consistent effort on defense had been an initial priority. Such a plan hasn't come to fruition.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O'Quinn, Lance Thomas, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) dribbles in the second quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Target Center. (Brad Rempel)
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) dribbles in the second quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Target Center. (Brad Rempel)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

With Thursday's NBA trade deadline approaching, Timberwolves PG Ricky Rubio remains a "significant target" of the Knicks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who notes the Timberwolves are also engaged with other teams regarding a potential Rubio trade.

The Knicks are reportedly asking the Timberwolves for F Nemanja Bjelica as part of a potential Rubio for Derrick Rose trade, according to Marc Berman of the NY Post. Meanwhile, Minnesota is unlikely to trade Rubio unless they get a first round draft pick in return, reports Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report.

Tags: Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knick forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) reacts after winning the skills challenge during NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Smoothie King Center. (Bob Donnan)
New York Knick forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) reacts after winning the skills challenge during NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Smoothie King Center. (Bob Donnan)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

With the NBA still coming off its All-Star Weekend, the Knicks have not played since losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Tuesday. But alas, the late additions of Carmelo Anthony and Willy Hernangomez to the weekend's festivities gave the team's fan base a little bit more to be excited about and invested in as things went on in New Orleans. 

When just about everyone in the NBA world collides for a few days, talk about the Knicks is never too far away. Speculation regarding the team's future, especially with the trade deadline steadily approaching, is running ramped as we speak. With that in mind, here are three things to ponder around this team in the week that follows.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O'Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) moves the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center.
Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) moves the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

Reports of a trade that will send DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans have already sent major shockwaves through the NBA. Initially, pondering whether or not the Kings got fair value in return for the outgoing star may not appear to have any immediate impact on the Knicks. But alas, it sure does.

Following the deal, Langston Galloway will reportedly be waived and speculation is abound that Tyreke Evans could be let go as well. It would make sense if his expiring contract was merely included as a formality to make the deal work financially. With that in mind, the deal boils down to Buddy Hield, a top three protected 2017 first rounder and a second rounder for Cousins. 

Could the Knicks have made a legitimate play at acquiring Cousins? It may not have been such a farfetched concept. Knowing now what the Kings ultimately settled for, offering a deal centered around Derrick Rose and New York's 2017 first round selection probably would have garnered consideration. Adding Willy Hernangomez certainly would have sweetened the pot. This would have meant the Knicks would have been left without two of their top valued future assets, but Cousins is arguably the best center in the NBA. Still just 26 years old, New York could have built a future around him in Kristaps Porzingis. His contract only runs through next season, but it makes sense for marquee players to re-sign in the Big Apple. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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The Long Goodbye 00:02:51
The DNL crew discusses if Wednesday's game against the Thunder was Carmelo Anthony's last game as a member of the Knicks.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

Carmelo Anthony is is headed to the All-Star Game. As the oldest participant, he's still holding his place amongs the league's best players. Both Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez (New York's biggest assets for the future) will take part in the weekend's festivities as well, participating in the Rising Stars Challenge. The Knicks have representation with feel-good stories to follow. All seems well, at least for a few days.

The next time the Knicks play, however, will be after the NBA trade deadline has passed --- five hours later, to be exact. Coincidentally, they'll face the Cavaliers. Will Anthony be in town suddenly donning a different uniform? 

Kevin Love's injury may make that difficult for the teams to accomplish. As it is, Love and his current contract isn't exactly the ideal return value for the Knicks. If and when they deal Anthony, New York needs flexibility, assets, future building blocks, etc. Love doesn't exactly fit that bill.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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 (AP)
(AP)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

The news of Kevin Love's injury may put a wrench into a potential deal between the Knicks and Cavaliers surrounding Carmelo Anthony, but it also opens the door back up for Anthony and/or Kristaps Porzingis to once again receive All-Star Game consideration.

Whereas Anthony has been a mainstay at the midseason event for nearly a decade, Porzingis is just starting to knock down the door that leads to association with the game's top talents. As demonstrated in the fan, player, and media voting, the 21-year-old has increasing popularity.

As the ever-quickly budding centerpiece and potential superstar of this hungry Knicks squad, Porzingis has plenty of things going in his favor, including an injury to 76ers big man Joel Embiid...

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) yells to the crowd after hitting a three-point basket during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) yells to the crowd after hitting a three-point basket during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

The Knicks had an empowering win over the Spurs to cap off the weekend. Beyond that, however, the dysfunction has only continued. The rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony continue to swirl. Frustration around the team's feeble defensive effort continues to set in. The mystique around what Phil Jackson's next remark may be (or how he chooses to communicate it) keeps everyone on their toes. And as if all of this wasn't enough, James Dolan played a part in a bizarre sequence of events this past week, reminding all that he is never truly far enough away.

As the trade deadline approaches and the losing continues, there are question marks around this team. Can the Knicks build off of the win against San Antonio, or will they fall back into their poor ways? Here's a look at what the team will face in the week ahead. 

Questions about team culture: One could argue that the poor culture is going to affect the Knicks for years to come. Clearly, the lack of positivity makes it difficult for players already in the Big Apple to perform at an optimal level. What's more, all that has gone on as of late could certainly impact the decisions of prospective free agents and scare them off from donning orange and blue. For years, James Dolan has been criticized for his poor way of handling things and a lack of overall basketball knowledge. While he has stayed out of Phil Jackson's way, he proved this week with Charles Oakley that he himself will never be far enough away not to play a role in something here or there. That's not a good feeling.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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Feb 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV: 

Over the last four games, the Knicks have averaged an impressive 112.3 points per game. Unfortunately, the problem is that they've lost all four contests.

Friday night's poor showing against the Nuggets was the latest proof that this team lacks energy and motivation on the defensive end. Denver ran circles around the Knicks, doing whatever they wanted as they pushed the pace. New York failed to contest shots or, at the very least, make things difficult.

It has been especially true on the defensive end as of late, but even generally speaking, the Knicks have not played with much effort, intensity, hustle or any other fiery emotion of the like. The starters aren't getting the job done. Not only do they play the bulk of minutes, but the first unit is also responsible for not setting the necessary tone to put New York in a winning position. Thus, it's time for a change.

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New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) celebrate a basket by Porzingis against the Charlotte Hornets during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner)
New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) celebrate a basket by Porzingis against the Charlotte Hornets during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

On pace to miss the NBA postseason for the fourth straight season, Carmelo Anthony knows what losing is all about. Since the Knicks won the Atlantic Division title back in 2012-13, Anthony has slowly but surely seen all of the talented veterans from that successful squad depart the Big Apple. In turn, the spotlight casts its shadow more and more on the star forward. Anthony has been unable to deliver since then.

Things are finally appearing to come to a head with New York shopping Anthony more aggressively than ever before. The team is motivated to deal him, as the vision with him leading the Knicks back to the promise land hasn't come any closer to fruition. As Anthony watches his closest friends and NBA counterparts chase and successfully capture NBA titles, he's arguably as far as he's ever been from one. This means it's time for a change all around. Nevertheless, Phil Jackson hasn't done himself or the team any favors. This organization has a negative vibe around it and the executive's recent comments and respective actions certainly haven't made things any easier for Anthony. 

Unfortunately for the Knicks' future, Anthony may not be the only one suffering from this lack of positive culture. New York is motivated to shop Anthony, not only because things haven't worked out, but because they have a beacon of light in Kristaps Porzingis to turn to next. Still, this slow transition and negative atmosphere can't be doing the budding superstar any good. Anthony obviously has more experience with this by now, but Porzingis too is getting used to losing. Through a season and a half, the young gun's Knickerbockers have gone 54-82. He's already been mentored by three head coaches. Teams have been known to change players from one season to the next: it's relatively normal. Nevertheless, after drastically changing the makeup of last year's squad, the revolving door would appear likely to keep swinging, given this season's shortcomings. More changes are coming.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek instructs Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)
New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek instructs Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) during the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

Looking back, the Knicks are currently nowhere near where anyone thought they'd be. Carmelo Anthony is facing a fourth straight year without a playoff appearance. With his own fate/success as an executive seemingly tied to that of his team's star forward, Phil Jackson has failed amid the continued pressure to put a consistent product on the court. He went all in last summer, spending on veterans and proven contributors. New York's inability to meet expectations has led to trade speculation all around, which ultimately prevents this group from creating and maintaining the positive culture Jackson aspired to develop.
 
All of this has given way to a very underwhelming 6-19 record in 2017. The Knicks had to put forth a really strong comeback effort just to defeat the 9-40 Nets last week. Here's a look at some of the questions facing New York as they look for stability.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kyle O'Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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 (AP)
(AP)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

The NBA trade deadline is less than a month away, which gives the Knicks a limited amount of time to explore and pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal involving Carmelo Anthony

While they could certainly wait until the offseason, moving Anthony sooner than later would give the team a clear direction as they start fresh and look toward the NBA Draft.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

Joakim Noah has finally found more consistency rebounding the ball and hasn't played up to his former disappearing act as of late, and the Knicks also want to experiment more with Kristaps Porzingis at the center position. 

The above developments sensibly limit Willy Hernangomez's opportunities, but he's still making the most of them. As he continues to do so, Kyle O'Quinn's minutes have decreased. It's not as if he is playing poorly, but Hernangomez has just been too good to ignore.

Tags: Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O'Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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Have the Knicks hit rock bottom? 00:02:51
With the drama surrounding Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson, the DNL panel discusses if the Knicks are hitting rock bottom.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.tv

With a 3-9 record in 2017, the Knicks certainly aren't looking like the contenders Phil Jackson intended to build them to be last offseason. Still only three games out of a playoff spot, there's still plenty of time to make a worthwhile run. Nevertheless, momentum hasn't been in the team's favor for a number of reasons.

Thus, decisions need to be made. Is it worth scrapping together an effort to squeeze in as the eight seed, in effect losing out a solid draft pick to help build upon the future with? The players may appreciate some clarity one way or another.

Some players are assets that can be moved. For those that can't be dealt seamlessly, it's up to the Knicks to utilize their talents full on and go from there. Here's a look at a few things effecting the current state of the Knicks. 

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Joakim Noah, Keith Schlosser
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 (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports Images)
(Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

Carmelo Anthony may have reiterated an interest to remain in New York during his conversation with Phil Jackson, but do the Knicks still want him in town? Based on previous failures, his time may be ticking in New York.

In his one-on-one meeting with the Knicks' star, Jackson likely attempted to distance himself from the harsh criticism his friend and confidant Charley Rosen recently wrote in an online column. But Jackson himself has been critical of Anthony. 

This sitdown could have proven to be an opportunity for the two to really get to the bottom of New York's problems, pinpointing how Anthony -- obviously an integral part of this team's performance -- is at the center of such struggles...

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a break in action against the Chicago Bulls during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a break in action against the Chicago Bulls during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

The Knicks are still losers of 11 out of their last 13 games, but they've broken the seal on the new year with 2 wins in 2017. There's a long way to go and New York has to make a run rather quickly if they want to prove they can compete before decisions need to be made.

Will this team become a seller closer to the trading deadline? Will they start to explore trades for Carmelo Anthony and their other long-term contracts in the coming weeks and into the offseason? This all remains to be seen.
 
There's an overcast of uncertainty surrounding this team, but head coach Jeff Hornacek's bold move against the Atlanta Hawks worked wonders. Ron Baker and Mindaugas Kuzminskas both provided tremendous energy. As Courtney Lee moved to the bench and the duo found success, it was a message to other starters (or key members of the rotation) that they could be next if they're not performing. 
 
Let's take a look at some of the other more pressing issues facing the Knicks..

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Keith Schlosser
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 (Sergio Estrada)
(Sergio Estrada)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV

Kyle O'Quinn was part of Phil Jackson's first wave of free agent signings in the summer of 2015, signing a four year deal worth $16 million.

Having not averaged more than 18 minutes per game in his first three seasons with the Magic, this acquisition was all about O'Quinn's potential. He wasn't considered overpaid, but the deal signed included some risk, as it required somewhat of a long-term investment.

Tags: Kyle O'Quinn, Keith Schlosser
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 (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

Currently in the midst of a 1-7 stretch, there's reason for the Knicks to be concerned about their season. No longer looking like a contender, their playoff hopes are in serious doubt.

After spending big on players like Joakim NoahCourtney Lee, and others last summer, this season was supposed to be different. Instead of remaining patient and building around a budding star in Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks instead surrounded Carmelo Anthony with the talent necessary to make a competitive push sooner than later.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. (Gary A. Vasquez)
New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. (Gary A. Vasquez)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

Over the course of the Knicks' 1-7 skid, their defense has left much to be desired. There's been a lack of intensity and the urgency to get early stops hasn't been there either. Such a wavering effort often creates too much of a hole for New York to climb out of. By the time the team attempts to make a late push, it's already a lost cause. That's become a pattern most recently.

Getting key defensive stops can often propel a team's effort on the other end. Because of how poorly the Knicks' offense has been, this too has become a pattern for opposing teams. The team's offense has been completely and utterly stagnant over this frustrating stretch. There are too many turnovers. 

While a brief absence of Kristaps Porzingis was seemingly to blame early on, their struggles have only continued with him on the court as well. There's very little flow to the offense. Players aren't moving freely without the ball. Instead, most players are left standing around, waiting to see what their teammate with the ball decides to do. If those around the ball-handler aren't getting themselves open, there isn't room for the ball-handler to do much other than isolate and/or force up a contested shot.

Tags: Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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Dec 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (5) guards New York Knicks guard Ron Baker (31) in the fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 127-114. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (5) guards New York Knicks guard Ron Baker (31) in the fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 127-114. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV: 

Dating back to training camp, there has been a level of uncertainty surrounding the Knicks and the point guard position. The skills of Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings represented upgrades from past years. Each one's injury history (and not to mention, Jennings' streakiness) created some doubt that the duo would be all the Knicks needed at the one, however.

In preseason play, Chasson Randle's potential was easy to identify. His flashy play was punctuated by an ability to penetrate and a pesky defensive nature. He was a seemingly perfect fit to help fill out New York's depth at the position. Unfortunately, an orbital injury derailed his hopes of making the final roster. What's more, team brass saw something worthwhile in the otherwise underrated Ron Baker.

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

n the two-plus weeks since the Knicks last won a basketball game, each passing loss has seemed more devastating than the last. 

There have been some close and competitive contests, but when paired together, such a losing streak (currently at six) can appear rather daunting to climb back from. Is this team capable of making the bleeding stop? The more the losses continue to build up, the less likely it appears. 

While New York may be able to take solace in the idea that they're making small improvements, head coach Jeff Hornacek has also questioned whether or not this team has what it takes to succeed, especially on the defensive end...

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

It's been nearly two weeks since the Knicks won a game. Prior to entering what's currently a five-game losing streak, the team's 16-13 record gave them good early playoff standing, and there was reason to be optimistic. But an inability to hold their own against the more competitive teams in the league has been a glaring weakness all season long.

Included in this recent skid are losses to teams like the Celtics and Rockets. Beyond that, however, the Knicks have failed to prove themselves as a contender by not taking care of business against seemingly weaker teams.

At this point, the reasons why the bleeding has continued are abundantly clear. It's up to everyone involved -- the front office, coaching staff, and players -- to put a stop to it before it's too late. Here's a look at three of the more pressing issues...

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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 (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
(Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

It's still early, but the Knicks nevertheless have good standing in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. There's optimism in the air, but still vast room for improvement. New York has lost four of its last six contests, and their inability to keep up with the Celtics on Christmas Day exposed many weaknesses. 

As the Knicks look to contend, they'll need to take care of business against the stronger teams of the league. Here are three of the other more pressing issues the team has faced as of late...

Tags: Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kyle O'Quinn, Lance Thomas, Keith Schlosser
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GEICO SportsNite: MSG residence 00:02:15
Michelle Yu talks to Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis and Jeff Hornacek at Knicks practice as they begin a three-game home stand this week.

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV:

Heading into their December 12 matchup against the Suns, the Knicks had won 9 of their last 12 games. They're 14-13 overall (9-4 at the Garden) and currently sit just one game out of the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Unfortunately, following three straight losses, New York's primary vulnerabilities are beginning to rear their heads in big ways. Not many predicted the Knicks would hit their stride so quickly. This is just a taste. Much easier to foresee, however, were the problems that have led to the team's recent downfall.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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Dec 9, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) dribbles the ball past Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Knicks defeated the Kings 103-100. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 9, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) dribbles the ball past Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. The Knicks defeated the Kings 103-100. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports)

Knicks guard Derrick Rose missed Saturday's game in Denver with a lingering back issue, leaving the Knicks thinner at the point. 

New York has lost its last three games, with Rose playing a combined 10 minutes because of the back problem. 

Brandon Jennings has filled in for Rose, scoring 14 points on just 25 percent shooting on Saturday night. That came on the heels of a game in which he shot 30.8 percent. 

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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Dec 9, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) looks to pass against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 9, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) looks to pass against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports)

Knicks F Carmelo Anthony had 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists during Tuesday night's overtime loss to the Suns in Phoenix.

It was Anthony's second consecutive 13-point game, and he is shooting a career-low 42 percent from the field on the season and an even less efficient 39 percent in December.

He is averaging 22 points, 6.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 25 games this season.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (Watchara Phomicinda/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (Watchara Phomicinda/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV

Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis' big nights are sure to garner the most headlines following Sunday's 118-112 win over the Lakers, but Willy Hernangomez and Brandon Jennings were both huge X-factors.

Filling in for an injured Kyle O'Quinn, Hernangomez played his part to perfection and looked like the best third-string center in the league. A rather physical performance, punctuated by 12 rebounds, was reminiscent of his gritty effort against Dwight Howard earlier in the year. Jennings' scoring prowess is undeniable and he has proved to be a much more versatile player this season, which allows him to catch opponents off guard with offensive outbursts. Scoring 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, it was as though Los Angeles had awoken a sleeping giant.

Such performances are proof of just how deep New York really is this season. How many times has the team employed a third-string rookie center who can log double-digit rebounds at the drop of a hat? Jennings' ability to pour in the points gives the Knicks the best offensive option they've had off the bench since J.R. Smith won Sixth Man of the Year back in the 2012-13 season. But the talent doesn't stop there. Now 6-1 during games in which he's grabbed at least seven rebounds, O'Quinn has certainly played a key role. Justin Holiday provides timely buckets and a strong rebounding presence for a reserve guard, complementing Courtney Lee really well. Lance Thomas has rebounded from a slow start to provide steady defense, and his shot is coming back as well.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Courtney Lee, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O'Quinn, Lance Thomas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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Dec 7, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard DeAndre Liggins (14) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 7, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard DeAndre Liggins (14) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV

Now winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Knicks are beginning to find a rhythm. Players are able to contribute and find success because their roles on this team are much clearer.

That's been a big plus for Courtney Lee, who is becoming visibly more comfortable and confident as the games go on. He knows what to do. With so many other gifted offensive players around him, opposing defenses tend to lay off Lee, especially when the Knicks are pushing the pace.

Tags: Courtney Lee, Keith Schlosser
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

No Noah, no problem. The Knicks have gone on 4-0 without Joakim Noah, but there's no denying having him rise up and be the player New York is hoping he can be would pay dividends rather quickly. 

Unfortunately, he hasn't been that player since (at the very most recent) the 2014-15 season. The player the Knicks have acquired looks like a shell of his former self. Of course, he's provided flashes of intrigue, physicality, and toughness here and there.

Noah's vision on offense is among the best for centers in the NBA. With a bevy of tip-backs when crashing the glass, Noah continues to create second-chance opportunities. On defense, he plays an excellent mental game and can frustrate opponents. 

Noah hasn't been able to do this on a consistent basis. He's missed games and New York has proven to be successful without him already. His absences have forced the Knicks to get into a different rhythm -- one that works without him on the floor. When inserting Noah back in, such cohesion often looks lost.

Tags: Joakim Noah, Kyle O'Quinn, Keith Schlosser
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 (Sam Sharpe)
(Sam Sharpe)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV

As Derrick Rose sat out much of the second half of Tuesday night's game against the Heat, it was easy to see just how thin the Knicks are spread at point guard, with only Brandon Jennings to turn to next.

This was a cause for concern during training camp, when New York opted to let Chasson Randle go. The thought that they could be without 50 percent of their point guard depth exposes quite a weakness.

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New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis shoots over Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis shoots over Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Kristaps Porzingis didn't bounce back in the way the New York Knicks hoped he would have following a 2-of-12 shooting performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he still managed to help the Knicks get a 106-98 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Porzingis shot 6-for-18 from the field and wasn't alone in his struggles, but simply couldn't get anything to fall no matter how often New York looked at him. (Granted, some overzealous foul calls against the Knicks prevented them from getting into a flow.) Despite Porzingis' off night, his teammates -- notably Derrick RoseCarmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings -- picked him up at different points. As Porzingis struggled, head coach Jeff Hornacek kept him on the floor, and it was easy to see why.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Sacramento Kings, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

Kristaps Porzingis has led the New York Knicks to a 6-4 record over their last 10 games. The second-year forward ranks second only to nine-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony on the team with 21.4 points per game. And as Porzingis continues to flourish on the offensive end, there's already talk about whose team this is.

Does it even matter? After a slow start to the season, New York looks competitive. As the Knicks hit their stride, Anthony and Porzingis are standing tall as a very formidable 1-2 punch. They're clearly stronger together, playing off one another and keeping opposing defenses on their toes. Porzingis seems to understand that.

"Since I've been here [Anthony has] been that guy for me and he still is the guy that draws the most attention from the defense," Porzingis said in a recent interview with SLAM. "That gives me more space and more options to be open.

"We're still figuring it out, we're not even close to what we can do and how much potential we have. We're working towards that and once we click 100 percent, we can do big things."

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Justin Holiday (8) reacts after scoring a three point basket during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Knicks guard Justin Holiday (8) reacts after scoring a three point basket during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Justin Holiday may have had a poor shooting night against Minnesota, but he found himself on the court when it mattered most. In what has become an often occurrence for Knicks' reserve, he was once again on the floor in the closing seconds of an important game. Alongside Carmelo Anthony and the team's more notable players, Holiday was depended on for defensive prowess.

Once considered simply an after thought in the Derrick Rose trade, Holiday has been much more than that. In the absence of Lance Thomas, he has given New York's second unit exactly what they needed: a mature veteran who can spread the floor and play intelligent defense. 

"There's such a premium on guys that can make shots. You have to make shots. With the way the game is today, defenses are rotating so quickly and the ball is going to find the open man," Michael Peck, who coached Holiday in 2012-13 on the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League told SNY.tv and TheKnicksBlog.com. "If you're that guy, you've got to be ready to knock those down. He has great length and great elevation on his shot, which makes him hard to cover."

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Lance Thomas, Keith Schlosser
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Derrick Rose (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
Derrick Rose (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

On the heels of Derrick Rose pouring in a season-high 30 points against the Thunder, the New York Post reported that the New York Knicks are yet to discuss a contract extension with the 2011 MVP.

And that's the way it should be. Rose has shown flashes of promise with regard to being the kind of player New York needs. Still, a big plus to his acquisition was the flexibility his expiring contract will present them moving forward. As Rose comes off the books, the Knicks will have an opportunity to regroup and assess their priorities during free agency. If no player entices them enough to garner the kind of money Rose would, they could instead hold off on making a big commitment until the following summer. 

"I haven't talked to them about it,'' Rose said of an extension. "It's been more about winning games. We'll see. I'm more concerned with trying to win games, but it's something I'd have to talk about with my family and team.''

Sometimes flexibility is more valuable than signing a player prematurely tends to be. Signing Rose to an extension that would hover around $75 million would tie up the Knicks' money. Is he really the player they want to commit to long term?

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) during first half against Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) during first half against Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray)

After missing two games with the flu, Joakim Noah returned, only to play limited minutes in the weekend back-to-back against Charlotte. The Knicks came away with two commanding victories in the games he missed, so the fact that Noah failed to make a big impact upon returning created doubt he'd be a solid fit for New York moving forward.

It's worth noting that the Hornets went small during crunch time. As the Knicks attempted to match up in the best way possible with their opponent, Noah was an obvious odd man out. Sometimes different opponents dictate the use of less favorable, or simply varied, lineups, and this was one of those times.

With an imposing and physical front line of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, (and not to mention, the NBA's best rebounding guard in Russell Westbrook), Noah had a quick chance to redeem himself. Unfortunately, he couldn't take advantage of the opportunity.

Tags: Joakim Noah, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Justin Holiday reaches for the net during the second quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks guard Justin Holiday reaches for the net during the second quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Justin Holiday and Mindaugas Kuzminskas have stepped up in the absence of the injured Lance Thomas, but how will head coach Jeff Hornacek adjust the players' minutes when Thomas returns?

Tags: Lance Thomas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Keith Schlosser
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

In back-to-back victories against Atlanta and Portland, the Knicks' center-by-committee worked out quite well. 

Kristaps Porzingis asserted himself more confidently with extra minutes at the five, Kyle O'Quinn filled in nicely with a steady rebounding presence, and Willy Hernangomez flashed plenty of potential as he held his ground against veteran big men Dwight Howard and Mason Plumlee.

Following this very short string of success, there's already concern regarding how Joakim Noah will fit in moving forward. Such questions are premature.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O'Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis defends Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis defends Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

While Kristaps Porzingis may benefit from playing alongside a bonafide star in Carmelo Anthony, the 21-year-old New York Knicks forward is further able to stand out on the court when he's playing with some of the team's role players off the bench.

 

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Portland Trail Blazers, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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GEICO SportsNite: KP stays hot 00:00:48
Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek and forward Kristaps Porzingis speak after Tuesday's 107-103 win over the Portland Trailblazers at MSG.

Kristaps Porzingis had 31 points and nine rebounds, Derrick Rose scored six of his 18 points down the stretch, and the New York Knicks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 107-103 on Tuesday night.

Rose made the go-ahead basket with a little more than 3 minutes remaining and hit the jumper that clinched it with 6.8 seconds left.

Carmelo Anthony finished with 17 points despite a scoreless fourth quarter for the Knicks, who won their fifth straight at home. Brandon Jennings had 11 assists off the bench.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) talks with New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills)
New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) talks with New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

The Knicks responded to a recent team meeting with a big win over the Hawks on Sunday. Still, it's clear this group is trying to develop their identity as players find their rhythms. 

There's little denying that Derrick Rose stands atop of that list. Coming from being the staring attraction in Chicago, there was plenty of pressure on him to do it all and often. The role he continues to climb into is different in New York.

Tags: Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez shoots as Washington Wizards forward Andrew Nicholson defends during the first half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez shoots as Washington Wizards forward Andrew Nicholson defends during the first half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports Images)

In big wins against Dallas and Detroit last week, Kristaps Porzingis soared on the offensive end and received key minutes at the five position as Joakim Noah remained on the bench. With the veteran big man sitting out Sunday's contest against the Hawks, the Knicks figured to play even more small ball with Carmelo Anthony and Porzingis at the four and five.

While that did happen for certain stretches, there's no way New York could have gone small all game against a much more physical Atlanta frontline featuring Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. With that in mind, rookie Willy Hernangomez received a well anticipated opportunity.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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GEICO SportsNite: Knicks players 00:01:06
Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Jeff Hornacek talk about the consistent defense and pace of the game after their win over the Hawks.

Carmelo Anthony had 31 points and Kristaps Porzingis 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Knicks defeated the Hawks 104-94 Sunday at Madison Square Garden in a noon matinee. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

If Marshall Plumlee is to have a steady future in the NBA, he'll earn his keep doing all of the dirty work. The big man will prove his value by boxing out, grabbing rebounds, asserting himself on the defensive end, etc. NBA teams need a guy like Plumlee to do all of the little things, but he looked like a bonafide D-League all-star while on assignment in Westchester on Saturday night.

Scoring 22 points, Plumlee slammed home dunk after dunk with authority in the minor league victory. Because he hasn't gotten time on the NBA level just yet, it's difficult to compare him to other big league centers to determine if he belongs. Playing against D-League players (and Hornets' assignee Christian Wood), it's clear Plumlee was head and shoulders above that level of competition.

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Nov 17, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) is defended by Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) during the first half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 17, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) is defended by Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) during the first half at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

On Wednesday night, Kristaps Porzingis had the game of his life. He poured in 35 points from all over the court. On Thursday, he failed to pick up where he left off and a slow start put he and the Knicks in an insurmountable hole. Porzingis added 16 in the defeat, but clearly didn't display that same level of dominance or fluidity in his offensive game.

At 21 years old, Porzingis is still coming into his own as a force in this league. He's just scratching the surface and his new teammates are still learning what he can do. As they develop even better chemistry, the Knicks are hoping their playmakers continue to find the young stud and set him up in the right spots. As good as Porzingis is, there's a lot of pressure on the Knicks to move the ball and for Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings to help elevate Porzingis' game. Porzingis may be the centerpiece of the future, but Carmelo Anthony is still playing at a high enough level. Even so, he too has unselfishly bought into the idea that this team needs to get Porzingis the basketball.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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