The Knicks fell to the Atlanta Hawks, 100-96, on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. >> Box Score
Five things to know from Wednesday's game...
1) David Fizdale started Dennis Smith Jr. at point guard, as the coach said before the game that he wanted to mix up the starting lineup. Smith Jr.'s night did not get off to a great start, as he quickly picked up two fouls in the first three minutes, finding himself back on the bench in a hurry. Frank Ntilikina was then called upon off the bench. Like Smith Jr. though, Ntilikina was not very impressive. The duo combined for just six points. Meanwhile, Elfrid Payton did not play. Ntilikina did come up with a pair of key defensive plays in the game's fiinal minutes.
2) Julius Randle had a strong first half. The power forward dropped in 13 points in the first half on 4-of-9 shooting, while grabbing three rebounds and blocking two shots. Randle once again showcased his ability as a point-forward on plays when he pulled in the the defensive rebound. He finished the game with a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
3) RJ Barrett once again didn't have a great night shooting, but he played well in other areas. The third-overall pick put his ability to get to the basket and use his body in the lane to create space for himself on display. Early in the fourth, Barrett attacked the lane and then threw a nice lob to Mitchell robinson. Barrett finished the game with 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. He led the team with 39 minutes.
4) The other change that Fizdale made to the starting lineup was giving Bobby Portis the start at center over Robinson. Portis had a solid night, chipping in 16 points and eight rebounds.. He also showed his ability to step out and knock down outside shots, going 1-of-4 from three.
5) The Knicks had a lot of trouble defending the three-point line against the Wizards on Friday, and their first-half three-point defense was lacking again on Wednesday against Atlanta. At one point, Vince Carter was putting on a show from beyond the arc, as he knocked down 4-of-7 shots from three. Late in the fourth, Carter connected on another big three, putting the Hawks up 97-95 with under two minutes to play.
The Knicks will play their fourth and final preseason game on Friday night, when they take on Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans at The Garden. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m.