Porzingis Exits Knicks–Heat Game in First Quarter With Ankle Injury

New York Knicks’ power forward Kristaps Porzingis left Wednesday’s Heat match up after appearing to roll his right ankle on the foot of Miami’s Justise Winslow. Porzingis had previously made his first two attempts from the field, but only 2:30 into the first quarter Porzingis, accompanied by New York’s training staff, left the floor and headed to the locker room.

Another look at the play that Kristaps was injured on.
(Via @clippittv) pic.twitter.com/aAKa1b68RP
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) November 30, 2017

Porzingis missed the Houston game over the weekend due to a lower back issue, however, the Knicks were playing a back-to-back set following the previous night’s game in Atlanta; so, Porzingis’ health has been a mild concern for the Knicks. Additionally, Porzingis has discussed an issue with his elbow swelling although that injury could be resolved at a later time.
The ankle roll for Porzingis dampened the mood at Madison Square Garden. Michael Beasley entered the game in place of the hurt KP, but the Garden crowd fell silent and only murmurs were heard in the wake of the scary injury for New York’s budding star. Also on the injury list is rookie Frank Ntilikina who reportedly turned his ankle during practice, according to head coach Jeff Hornacek. These two injury concerns, coupled with New York’s three-game losing streak, have created anxiety for the Knicks who are hoping to lean into their youth.
Porzingis is averaging 27.0 points (4th in the NBA), 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.2 blocks (1st in the NBA) in 18 games this season. This story is developing and will update upon news of Porzingis’ condition.
UPDATE: 8:13 p.m. EST.
Good news: Porzingis’ X-ray came back negative and the Latvian is expected to return to game action, per NY Knicks PR:

Kristaps Porzingis sprained his right ankle. X-rays were negative. He is available to return.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) November 30, 2017

UPDATE: 8:57 p.m. EST.
Porzingis neither returned to the starting lineup nor the Knicks’ bench on the sideline to start the second half. With three rest days before a match up against the Orlando Magic, it’s likely Porzingis sits the rest of Wednesday’s game (and with the Knicks up double digits).
UPDATE: 9:12 p.m. EST.

Medical Update – Kristaps Porzingis will not return.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) November 30, 2017

Porzingis will not return after being cleared from the right ankle sprain.
UPDATE: 3:01 p.m. EST 11/30.
ESPN reports Porzingis’ MRI results came back negative and the power forward will be day-to-day.

MRI results negative on Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis’ right ankle today, league sources tell @IanBegley and me. No damage. Porzingis will be day-to-day.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 30, 2017

UPDATE: 2:29 p.m. EST 12/3.
Porzingis will not play against the Magic on Sunday, December 3. According to the Knicks, it was a game time decision; however, Frank Ntilikina, who was inactive on Wednesday, will play today.

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Knicks Assign Joakim Noah to Westchester

The highly-paid pivot will suit up for the Knicks G League affiliate this morning in White Plains.
The Knicks have a game tonight at the Garden against the Miami Heat, but it isn’t the only game that Joakim Noah (and Damyean Dotson) will don the orange and blue for today:

The NY Knicks have assigned Damyean Dotson and Joakim Noah to the Westchester Knicks for this morning’s game. They are expected to rejoin the NY Knicks for tonight’s game against Miami.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) November 29, 2017

With Noah’s recent return from suspension and a subsequent illness, the Knicks seemingly want to give him some reps in the G League to allow his conditioning to improve. In his first game this year as a Knick on Monday, Noah played three minutes, recording two points, one rebound, and one blocked shot.
Using the G League as a type of rehab assignment has long made a lot of sense, but the stigma associated with it has generally prevented teams from sending veterans down. The Spurs sent Tony Parker to practice with their G League affiliate as he was returning from injury recently, perhaps setting a precedent for other teams to follow. It’s unclear if Noah will play in the Westchester Knicks game, which is set for 11 A.M. against the Maine Red Claws, but the fact that the Knicks are using their G League team for this type of assignment is smart.
This has to be true, no?:

joakim noah just became the highest paid player to ever suit up for a g league team right
— trey (@treyzingis) November 29, 2017

Noah is comfortably getting paid more to be sent down for one game than some of these guys will all season. Thoughts?

Be sure to follow along @TheKnicksWall for updates regarding Noah’s brief stint at the County Center.
UPDATE: Noah put up 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists for Westchester today. Here are his highlights:

A little bit of this, a little bit of that! @NYKnicks Joakim Noah came through and had 9 points (4/5 FG), grabbed 5 boards & dished out 4 assists in #Westchester today. #DubKnicks pic.twitter.com/5AyjqTncSr
— Westchester Knicks (@wcknicks) November 29, 2017

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Knicks, Garden of Dreams Foundation Hold Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive in Harlem

TKW went to Harlem for the Knicks’ Thanksgiving charity drive in conjunction with The Garden of Dreams Foundation!
Tuesday night found some of our Knicks up in Harlem for a Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. The Garden Of Dreams Foundation, in partnership with the team, hosted the event.
(Quick sidebar: all corporations have charities. It’s beneficial for the brand to splash charitable acts on your website and include it with every PR asset. I say this to get something quick out of the way: The Knicks Organization is most definitely a corporation but its partnership with The Garden Of Dreams Foundation just doesn’t fit the less-than- sincere mold I described above.)
This night saw Michael Beasley, Doug McDermott, and Jarrett Jack in bright blue Knicks tees participating. Sure, they had to be there. But it felt so genuine. You see Michael Beasley handing out turkeys to members of the community with that real Beas smile plastered on his face.

We're coming at you from the @gardenofdreams NYK Turkey Drive tonight so follow here and snap for your boys Dougie, Beas, and J Jack pic.twitter.com/okCQBueLaE
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) November 14, 2017

Dougie McBuckets is off at a table playing Connect 4 with a little girl who’s face is adorned with glitter and face paint. The man looked FOCUSED. Jarrett Jack has his usual stern look but when a kid asked for a quick picture, his face lit up, and he hoisted the kid up with energy as someone snapped a few photos.
So much of the event and the involvement of the Knicks felt genuine. Teams give communities and cities so much more than a color palette and a roster to root for. They give back to the community with real, concrete programs and events just like this one. The Garden Of Dreams Foundation enriches children’s lives, and the small, but lively delegation of Knicks could not have looked happier to be there.
Thank you, Nitz, for being our social correspondent and attending the New York Knicks’ Garden of Dream Foundation charity drive.

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Explaining New York’s Monday Night Collapse Against the Cavs

Comb through the fine details to find what really caused the Knicks to blow a double-digit lead against King James’ club: a terrible reaction to Cleveland’s small-ball offensive approach.
Kristaps Porzingis missed two crucial free-throws last night with 2:27 to play, which would have pushed the Knicks to a five-point lead. That was backbreaking, but the day after a tough loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers—a loss that saw the Cavs come back from down 23 points at one point—I’m still hung up on the terrible, no good defense the Knicks exhibited in the fourth quarter. Tyronn Lue’s squad got the better of Jeff Hornacek’s team due to some pretty specific schematic reasons.
Here’s what went wrong in particular.

The Cavs went small, and Hornacek left Kanter in the game too long.
Okay, so you may look at this first point with the Nick Young Confused Face, and Enes Kanter had a pretty good basketball game by most standards. Nonetheless, you need to look beyond the solid numbers from Kanter—20 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, and some bully ball in the first quarter that scored him a double technical foul along with Cleveland’s LeBron James.
What really went wrong for Kanter and the Knicks was something Lue and Cleveland took advantage of really, really well. That was Kyle Korver. Or, more specifically, the position the Cavs put Korver in that let him succeed.
While the Knicks had a lineup consisting of Jarrett Jack/Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Porzingis, and Kanter, Cleveland went relatively small, or really, they went skilled with Frye at center. Enes was borderline unplayable when the Cavs trotted out James with Korver, Smith, Frye or Crowder, and either Shumpert or Wade. One prime example of the mismatch Cleveland gained was the Kanter–Porzingis frontcourt for New York. Kanter was routinely switched onto Jae Crowder—a capable three-point shooter—but Enes wouldn’t budge from the paint and instead let Crowder shoot five threes, sinking a pair. But more than important than Crowder was the room on the perimeter the Cavs were given while Kanter hung around the blue paint. Cleveland moved the ball around so well, and with James whipping passes to his teammates, the Cavs found space for triples from Channing Frye, Cedi Osman, and even LeBron himself.
I’ll admit, Kanter is so fun to watch work operate in the interior. He’s very adept at corralling loose balls for put backs, and his footwork around the rim is flabbergasting. However, Kanter finished the game with a -6 on the night because he stayed in too long. The Knicks squandered a large lead because they could not adapt to Cleveland’s three-point-oriented offense. Quick flare screens and space for Korver to get off his notoriously quick three-point shot devastated the Knicks in the fourth quarter, and it was a symptom of Hornacek’s inability to play his wing defenders, Lance Thomas and Courtney Lee, and trusting his team with Porzingis at center.

Tim Hardaway Jr. couldn’t stay with Korver.
And on that point about Korver’s hot shooting, Tim Hardaway Jr. could. not. stay. with. his. man. Late into the game Hornacek switched Lee onto Korver because Hardaway Jr. could not get past the screens Cleveland was setting to free up K-squared. Kyle Korver scored 21 fourth quarter points on the back of five three-pointers. It’s not a coincidence the Cavs came back down 15 in the last period. To me, as vital as the KP free-throws would have been to make it a two possession game, the Knicks’ horrible communication on defense led to the 15 points via Korver alone. A 15-point lead lost hurts so much more than missed free-throws.
If you look at the micro details of this loss, you’ll see LeBron doing LeBron things: 12 assists and leading the charge, penetrating into the lane as Cleveland’s nominal point guard, and finding his open teammates. Threes are greater than twos, people. I’m upset at THJ being completely unable to fight off screens and keep close enough to Korver to contest his quick release shot. Nonetheless, you’ll see the Knicks’ defense completely collapse because of total lack of communication and poor talent at the wing positions. Cleaning up the glass is rendered meaningless if your team cannot stick with opponents’ three-point shooting wings draining treys, and the Knicks could not adapt to Lue’s small-ball game that propelled them from the 15-point hole to victory.

Anyway, let’s end this with last night’s positives. For one, Porzingis did indeed struggle all evening, but his teammates picked him up. When he wasn’t getting his money’s worth with the manhandling defense of LeBron, he failed to convert on some shots he was making this season. However, the Knicks failed to identify KP in favorable situations and allowed themselves to fall into the habit of dumping it to him in the post against LeBron and Crowder. Those aren’t optimal match ups despite the clear height advantage possessed by Kristaps. While KP faltered, Lee, Kanter, and Hardaway Jr. found positive steps. Lee, never one to not play hard, exemplified his nightly hard work with a steal off the inbounds for a layup. Hardaway Jr., still searching for a consistently shot selection, sunk four triples and found his way to the tin with some really encouraging drives. I love to see that from Junior. Kanter made a mockery of Kevin Love’s low post defense. Enes deftly skipped past Love and shot 60 percent from the field, even shooting a 13-footer from the left wing on his own version of a heat check. The Knicks competed with the reigning Eastern Conference champs, and that’s perfectly O.K. from a developing team with a mediocre record. The Knicks need to learn from their missteps, though.
The offense was mostly fine on Monday night, but the defense gave up 43 points to the Cavs in the fourth quarter after allowing the Cavs to score just 38 in the first half. It was a complete and utter meltdown on defense, and there’s no other way to explain it. You can be frustrated by Porzingis’ boneheaded free-throw misses late down the stretch, Ntilikina’s turnover (on a night he stole six cookies from Cleveland’s jar), and some poor rebounding. But looking at the fine details that brought Cleveland from the brink of New York bragging blow out,  I’m still shaken up by the horrid late game no-show of Jeff Hornacek’s (and Kurt Rambis’) defense.

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Kuzminskas Waived by New York, Noah Joins Team After Suspension

Another piece from the Phil Jackson era is gone in order to make room for Joakim Noah.
The New York Knicks waived forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas after Joakim Noah joined the team, serving the remainder of his 20-game suspension imposed towards the end of last season. Kuzminskas, who only played a few minutes in the Orlando Magic game this season, was waived to make room for Noah on the 15- (or 17 if you include two-way contracts) man roster.
Kuzminskas fell out of the rotation this season, out of favor with head coach Jeff Hornacek, and seemingly a remnant of former president Phil Jackson’s regime. Jackson signed the Lithuanian NBA rookie in the summer of 2016, Mindaugas’ first contract across the Atlantic at the ripe age of 27 years old. While Kuz’s shot was inconsistent, his rookie campaign featured some electrifying minutes off the bench, and even five starts in 68 games. Kuz averaged 6.3 points on 42.8 percent shooting from the field, per Basketball-Reference.
Nonetheless, with the issue of Joakim Noah returning of suspension, Kuz, 28, was an obvious candidate to be waived; he fell out of the rotation, he didn’t exactly fit in GM Scott Perry’s youth movement strategy, and he represented the failed former front office regime of Jackson.
In a press release statement, Perry said, “[Kuzminskas’] professionalism and work ethic were greatly appreciated by his teammates, coaches, and the entire staff.” Perry added that the decision was “extremely tough” to waive Kuz.

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Porzingis Earns Eastern Conference Player of the Week Honors

The NBA announced on Monday that New York’s Kristaps Porzingis won the title for last week’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week award (October 30–November 5). Houston’s James Harden won the Western Conference honors.
Porzingis led the Knicks to a 3-1 record, the only loss against Harden and the Rockets, while averaging 33.5 points on 54.4 percent shooting, 46.7 percent from three-point range, and 3.3 blocks per game. Kristaps’ charge on offense–while blocking every opponents’ shot in sight on defense–helped the Knicks defend home-court advantage with surprisingly good play and raised the Knicks to a 5-4 record overall.
Interesting enough, both KP and Harden reached their career highs in scoring totals on Sunday night, Harden scoring 56 points in a win against the Utah Jazz and Porzingis pouring in 40 in last night’s comeback victory over Indiana.
KP’s first Player of the Week honors may be the first acknowledgement in the league of his leap in his third season. Porzingis is the focal point for New York’s offense, confounding opposing defenses with his you-can’t-teach-that height, shooting over smaller defenders with ease, and cutting to the paint for layups and powerful dunks. Porzingis is angling towards his best season by far; he’s currently second in the league in scoring, less than one point behind Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. An All-Star team berth or All-NBA honor could be where KP is headed if he keeps up this burgeoning pace of enthusiasm that has filled the Garden as of late.
Congrats, KP on the first of hopefully many accolades!

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Burke, Hayes Announced to Westchester Knicks Training Camp Roster

The Knicks’ G League squad starts their season soon, too!
The Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate team, announced their training camp roster on Monday. Here’s how the training camp roster shakes out in White Plains, per The Step Back’s Chris Reichert:

The Westchester Knicks announce their training camp roster #GLeague pic.twitter.com/OOq7UmWWGj
— Chris Reichert (@Chris_Reichert) October 23, 2017

Notably, collegiate stars guard Trey Burke and forward Nigel Hayes are featured on the DubKnicks’ roster, along with two-way contract signees forward/center Luke Kornet and forward Isaiah Hicks. Also in Westchester are Summer League and big league training camp invite, point guard Xander Rathan-Mayes and 2017 G League Draft first round pick, forward Paul Watson Jr.
There’s also my personal, quirky favorite player, Max Hooper, who you’ll recognize as the guy who only attempts three-point shots. He made the roster last season as a draft pick of the Knicks, but only played in two games.
We’ll have more coverage and a breakdown of the DubKnicks team later, check back this week!

— Reid Goldsmith, managing editor

Follow The Knicks Wall on Facebook and Twitter for more coverage, and listen to the TKW Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud!

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Knicks Sign Isaiah Hicks to a Two-Way Deal

The Knicks have filled out their second two-way contract spot by signing Hicks.
After signing Luke Kornet to a two-way contract on July 3, the New York Knicks have filled out their second two-way contract spot by signing former University of North Carolina (UNC) power forward Isaiah Hicks to a two-way contract. The Vertical’s Shams Charania was first on the report:

Sources: The Knicks are signing former UNC forward Isaiah Hicks to a two-way NBA contract. Hicks went to training camp with Charlotte.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 20, 2017

Hicks, a 6’9″ Forward, was signed to the Charlotte Hornets training camp roster but was a long shot to make the team. Failing to appear in a single game, Hicks was subsequently cut, leading to Knicks General Manager Scott Perry picking him up on October 19.
Hicks played Summer League this past offseason for the Los Angeles Clippers as well, failing to garner a contract.
Hicks played four years at UNC, averaging 7.4 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 72.5 percent from the free-throw line. Hicks averaged 16.2 minutes per game during his four years of college.
Overall, Hicks is slightly undersized and likely will not see the floor for the Knicks this season, but could develop into a solid rotational player with time in the G League.

— Ankit Mehra, staff writer

Follow The Knicks Wall on Facebook and Twitter for more coverage, and listen to the TKW Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud!

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Jarrett Jack, Knicks Agree to Non-Guaranteed Deal

The veteran point guard brings added competition headed into training camp.
The New York Knicks and point guard Jarrett Jack have agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, according to Basketball Insiders’ Michael Scotto.
Jack is coming off an injured season, only playing in two games during the 2016–17 season for the New Orleans Pelicans. Jack is looking to rebound after his ACL tear and recovery.
At 33 years old, the Georgia Tech alum Jarrett has been in the league for a dozen years, playing for seven teams. New York’s backcourt already seems crowded, with point guards including fellow vet Ramon Sessions, rookie Frank Ntilikina, and recently paid Ron Baker.
The non-guaranteed deal points to added competition during training camp as the NBA quickly returns to preseason in three weeks.
Jack has averaged 11.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per games on 44.1 percent from the field, 34.5 percent from three, and 85.6 from the free-throw line in his career. Before his (very) short time with New Orleans, Jack played two season and 112 games with the Brooklyn Nets, averaging 12.2 points and 5.4 assists (via Basketball-Reference).
— Reid Goldsmith, managing editor

Follow The Knicks Wall on Facebook and Twitter for more news, and listen to the TKW Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud.

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