Keith Schlosser

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

 (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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Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) shoots over Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (8) during the first quarter at the United Center. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) shoots over Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (8) during the first quarter at the United Center. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

With Derrick Rose's explosiveness and Brandon Jennings' ability to spread the ball, the New York Knicks should consider switching their roles a bit.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, 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 took over at the 5 in place of Joakim Noah in the Knicks' win over the Mavericks on Monday. What does that mean for both players going forward?

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) dribbles the ball during the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings (3) dribbles the ball during the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Justin Holiday scored 16 points on Monday night, uplifting the Knicks' bench in a much needed way. The scoring effort was more than Brandon Jennings has scored in any single game this season. What's more, it was just 1 point less than Jennings has scored in his last three games combined.

A 15.4 point per game career scorer, Jennings has poured in the points as the primary option on weaker teams over the course of his career. Still, he has the capability to heat up and fill it up on any given night. Jennings' ability to beat defenders off the dribble, and then choose to attack and/or fade away and fire bombs away makes him a versatile offensive talent. Unfortunately for New York, such prowess hasn't been on display all too often. 

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose drives to the basket past Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk during the first half at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose drives to the basket past Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk during the first half at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images)

Following a season-high 21 points on Saturday, how will Derrick Rose fare when the New York Knicks face a shorthanded Dallas Mavericks defense on Monday?

Tags: Derrick Rose, Keith Schlosser
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Nov 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) drives against Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) drives against Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As the Knicks have attempted to find their identity as a team this season, there has been so much pressure on both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to earn their respective salaries. Rose has to prove that he can remain healthy and play at a high enough level to be considered a star once again. With an expiring deal, his future earnings depend on such an effort. Noah is tasked with doing more of the same, except it's on him to prove the Knicks didn't make a mistake investing on him in a big way.

As Rose and Noah attract more of the headlines, the acquisition of Courtney Lee has continued to fly under the radar. 

With plenty of star power around him, Lee is a perfect fit for this team. He doesn't have to do too much and isn't tasked with a lot offensively. Helping space the floor and knock down the occasional three-point shot is something he's used to. Defensively, however, there should be more pressure on him. The Knicks should be able to depend on Lee to defend an opponent's best wing player. 

Tags: Courtney Lee, Keith Schlosser
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Toronto's DeMar DeRozan (10) reacts after falling to the floor during the fourth quarter. (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto's DeMar DeRozan (10) reacts after falling to the floor during the fourth quarter. (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)

DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points, Norman Powell added 19 and the Toronto Raptors beat the New York Knicks for the fourth straight time with a 118-107 victory on Saturday night.

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Nov 11, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) reacts after getting fouled during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) reacts after getting fouled during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

The Knicks' loss to the Celtics on Friday night was one to forget. Regardless of whether or not Carmelo Anthony's early ejection was justified, there was still one overwhelmingly positive takeaway from the entire ordeal.

As Anthony was tossed, Derrick Rose observed and attempted to come to his aid. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite quick enough to defuse the situation. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Keith Schlosser
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Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots a three point shot over Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden.  (Brad Penner - USA Today)
Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots a three point shot over Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and Bojan Bogdanovic (44) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner - USA Today)

As a 39 percent career shooter, the Knicks knew they were getting a streaky offensive player upon signing Brandon Jennings. Still, his $5 million, one-year contract makes him a bargain in today's NBA economy. Streaky shooting aside, Jennings has an undeniable clutch gene and can fill it up in bunches. With a 15.4 point career average, there's little to no stopping Jennings when he does happen to heat up. With New York desperately in need of a scoring boost from its second unit, he's a very good fit and serves as a low risk, high reward option.

Well known for his own offensive prowess, it would have been difficult to predict the kind of chemistry Jennings continues to develop with Kristaps Porzingis. But at this point, such chemistry is undeniable. Dating back to the preseason, these two have had it going on. One of the Knicks' primary goals in order to be successful is getting Porzingis the ball. Such a task is an easier one to accomplish when Jennings is on the floor with him. That's something the reserve guard takes pride in. The big man is a special versatile offensive talent, able to score the ball inside, set up and shoot around the perimeter, or simply catch the ball in transition and make it rain from downtown. When he's running the floor with Jennings, there's trust that his floor general will find him and the offense starts to flow. 

The Knicks are trying to build up the chemistry in their starting five. Derrick Rose is still getting there, but there's no doubt he can take a nod from what Jennings is already doing with Porzingis.

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

The Knicks have clearly been content taking their time with Willy Hernangomez. After being drafted in 2015, the big man remained overseas for a year. 

Since coming over, there have been questions as to whether or not he could make meaningful contributions as an NBA rookie. So far, he's received DNP-CD's, watched games in a suit, and been assigned for D-League practices.

On Wednesday against the Nets, Hernangomez finally received the call for prime time and didn't disappoint.

Tags: Kyle O'Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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Chasson Randle (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
Chasson Randle (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Chasson Randle, Ron Baker and Marshall Plumlee will gain valuable game experience with the New York Knicks' D-League affiliate in Westchester.

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New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek directs his team against the Utah Jazz during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Gregory Fisher)
New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek directs his team against the Utah Jazz during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Gregory Fisher)

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is strongly considering bringing in someone to be in charge of the team's defense, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

New York is currently sitting at 2-4, and is 27th in the NBA in opponents points per game at 109.8. Only Boston, Indiana, and Phoenix have surrendered more points to opposing teams.

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The New York Knicks new President of basketball operations Phil Jackson speaks to the media as he is introduced to the media at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. (William Perlman)
The New York Knicks new President of basketball operations Phil Jackson speaks to the media as he is introduced to the media at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. (William Perlman)

Keith Schlosser, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive

Over the course of the Knicks' 2-4 season so far, there have been plenty of discrepancies. While they boast quite a talented group, the offense has been inconsistent and there has been too much miscommunication on the defensive end.

Regardless of the reason, the team's early struggles are clearly disconcerting. As fate would have it, the inability to compete has also given Phil Jackson ground to stand on. The Knicks are off to a bad start, and they just so happen not to be running (or properly executing) much of the triangle offense, either. Because these two things happen to be going on at the same time, Jackson can emerge back atop his soapbox and appear to seem justified. It's his belief that the triangle offense leads to success. If the Knicks are losing and aren't carrying out the triangle to Jackson's liking, he believes that must be why.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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Kristaps Porzingis (6) congratulates point guard Derrick Rose (25) along with small forward Lance Thomas (42) and shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden. Utah won 114-109.  (Gregory Fisher - USA Today)
Kristaps Porzingis (6) congratulates point guard Derrick Rose (25) along with small forward Lance Thomas (42) and shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden. Utah won 114-109. (Gregory Fisher - USA Today)

At first glance, the Knicks' box score from Sunday against the Jazz looks like that of a victory. The team shot 51% from the field, 40% from deep, and dished out 18 assists. Two players scored 28 points as New York amassed 109 points. This type of effort was good enough to build an early double-digit lead, but by game's end, the Knicks had nothing more to show for it all than a defeat.

The Jazz have plenty of offensive weapons that can attack opposing teams. Sunday's game was one where they all happened to catch fire at once, overwhelming the Knicks throughout. Trying to cover much more ground than what they're used to, in order to slow down multiple weapons, New York was helpless. There were too many unsuccessful switches and an overall failure to communicate.

Defense aside, it's a shame to see the Knicks play at such a high level offensively and not be able to close the deal. Much of the same effort from Friday's win over the Bulls was there, but it came and went in bunches.

Getting Kristaps Porzingis the ball early and often is obviously a primary goal for the Knicks' offense. Following 14 first-quarter points, it's clear they were able to do that. But after the big man committed two fouls, he was forced to sit and the Knicks couldn't help him find his way again until it was too late. In a rather rare sight this season, Brandon Jennings failed to set Porzingis up. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Chasson Randle (4) dribbles the ball past Washington Wizards forward/center Johnny O'Bryant III (7) during an exhibition game. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Knicks guard Chasson Randle (4) dribbles the ball past Washington Wizards forward/center Johnny O'Bryant III (7) during an exhibition game. (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Knicks are set to sign rookie guard Chasson Randle to the 15-man roster when he's back in shape after rehabbing from a fractured orbital bone.

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Oct 20, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) defends against New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during first half at Barclays Center. Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) defends against New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during first half at Barclays Center. Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks came together Friday, putting forth a really strong collective effort in their win over the Bulls. There was terrific flow to the offense and everyone was sharing the ball. Even so, it was clear New York's game plan was centered around featuring Kristaps Porzingis. It's safe to say he answered the call with plenty of gusto.

After shooting 32 percent in the last two losses, it was clear New York needed a breakout performance from him. As Phil Jackson continues to build toward a successful and competitive future for this team, the emergence of Porzingis is a necessity. The 21-year-old can't be expected to flip a switch. He needs help.

Tags: Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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Derrick Rose (25) takes the ball up the court at Madison Square Garden with Joakim Noah (13) trailing.  (Brad Penner - USA Today)
Derrick Rose (25) takes the ball up the court at Madison Square Garden with Joakim Noah (13) trailing. (Brad Penner - USA Today)

Spending the last eight seasons together in Chicago, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah spearheaded a movement to bring the Bulls back to basketball relevancy. While the United Center truly felt like home for the Englewood raised Rose, Noah was quickly embraced as one of the city's own following so much success. With the 31-year-old Noah coming home to the Big Apple and Rose joining for the ride, the roles are reversed. They are surely hoping to be celebrated in the same fashion, perhaps following similar success, in New York. That's the goal.

As the duo returns to Chicago for the first time since joining the Knicks, they'll be reminded of all the memories, good and bad. The fan reactions are likely to be mixed, but each player will receive a video tribute before Friday's game.  Despite not bringing home a championship, the Bulls organization is still thankful for their accomplishments.

Following great continued success, the team began to hit a wall. Rose and Noah were both relegated to battling major injuries. From there on out, the Bulls traded Rose to the Knicks and sparked a change in direction. 

Tags: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Keith Schlosser
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Though the Knicks have struggled so far this season, the offensive production of Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose has been encouraging. The same can't be said about Kristaps Porzingis, however.

Against the Pistons, Porzingis (7-of-18) started off hot but fizzled out as the game went on. When it came down to crunch time, he was benched in favor of Lance Thomas. He followed that up with a scoreless (0-for-4) effort against the Rockets on Wednesday. 

Unfortunately, there was no bounceback performance. After such an impressive rookie season, Porzingis seems to be hitting the wall rather early in this new campaign, unable to find himself thus far.

Tags: Brandon Jennings, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas, Keith Schlosser
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GEICO Sportsnite: Knicks 00:02:01
Michelle Yu reports from Madison Square Garden after the Knicks' loss to the Rockets and the team discusses defensive adjustments.

James Harden had 30 points and 15 assists, and the Houston Rockets routed the New York Knicks 118-99 on Wednesday night.

The NBA's leader coming into the day with 11.8 assists per game toyed with the Knicks defense, setting up teammates for lobs or open 3-pointers as the Rockets easily bounced back from a loss in Cleveland a night earlier.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings drives to the basket as Detroit Pistons guard Beno Udrih defends during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Knicks guard Brandon Jennings drives to the basket as Detroit Pistons guard Beno Udrih defends during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports Images)

Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings put together a strong 1-2 punch at point guard for the New York Knicks in Tuesday's 102-89 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Detroit Pistons, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Keith Schlosser
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New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek (L) speaks to his players on the bench during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek (L) speaks to his players on the bench during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Knicks' opening night loss to the Cavaliers looked like a preseason game for many reasons. The contest served as quite the wakeup call. New York subsequently displayed better behaviors and an increased level of communication in their game two victory over Memphis.Plenty of players --- Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Kyle O'Quinn among them --, showed great improvement from one game to the next. That surely gave the Knicks a big boost, but head coach Jeff Hornacek should be praised for a key conscious decision he made as well. He hasn't gotten enough credit for it just yet.Three fewer players took the court for the Knicks against the Grizzlies, shoring up what should develop into a consistent ten man rotation. Game one was treated much like a preseason contest because the minutes were divided up relatively evenly and everyone was given a shot. When it's time to compete and something more substantial at stake, that's not an efficient strategy. The better players should receive the bulk of playing time.

Tags: Courtney Lee, Joakim Noah, Kyle O'Quinn, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, Keith Schlosser
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