The Knicks continue their road trip with a tough divisional matchup in Philly against the Jimmy Butler Sixers.

Last night in Detroit felt like a splash of cold water on the face. Prior to their loss to the Pistons, David Fizdale’s group had won three straight against three quality opponents. The Pistons, a quality opponent in their own right, still managed to do what they pleased for most of the night.

Tonight, they get a look at a refurbished rival, the 76ers. This will be the first meeting with Philly since they added Jimmy Butler. Beating up on Western Conference teams is nice, but the Knicks should be more concerned about teams like the Pistons and Sixers for obvious reasons.

Here’s what to look out for in this Atlantic Division clash.

Welcome Back Dot

Something truly amazing happened last night. Damyean Dotson was freed from the bench after a four game hiatus. In his return, Dot played 24 minutes and finished with 17 points, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from three. He’s a solid player who can contribute when given the minutes.

Fizdale praised Dotson for always being ready. Dotson doubled down on the kind words by saying his erratic playing time is easy to manage thanks to the fluid communication he has with Fizdale. Hopefully Dotson’s strong outing puts him back on track to start, or at the very least, be back in the thick of the rotation.

Growing Pains

It has been a rough go for two of our three prized rookies. Allonzo Trier is incapable of cold streaks thanks to his unrivaled confidence. His 19- and 20-year-old rookie classmates are another story.

Mitchell Robinson has fouled out twice in his last three games. Kevin Knox has been in a fog his last three games, shooting a frigid 20 percent from the field. These are not abnormal occurrences for young rookies. Frank Ntilikina went through similar swoons last season (and still goes through them). This is more of a reminder for us to be patient.

Not every rookie is Jayson Tatum or Luka Doncic. With Knox and Mitchell, both closer to raw than polished, there will be nights when they stink up the joint. There will also be nights where Knox can’t seem to miss a shot or Mitch swats every ball in his vicinity. It’s all part of the process we clamored for.

Final Countdown

By this time next week, Allonzo Trier will be converted from his current two-way to a regular contract. The million dollar question is who will be shown the door to make Trier’s transfer possible. The answer to that has been kept a secret.

Conventional wisdom says it will be Ron Baker, but the cynic in me believes Luke Kornet could be a surprise cut. Fizdale’s rotation tonight through next Wednesday may give us a hint as to which way the team is leaning.

Spotlight: Mitchell Robinson

Joel Embiid is going to eviscerate Enes Kanter whenever the two share the floor. Kanter will still pull down 17 rebounds and everyone will think he is doing a good job. Fans can look forward to when Mitchell gets his shot at Embiid—the best center in the East, and maybe the entire league right now.

Mitchell has been hand-happy. He fouled out in 17 minutes last night, so he should have fresh legs. Embiid has quite the bag of tricks, so Mitchell will get a crash course in post defense. Given Fizdale’s teaching style, chances are Robinson will have more than enough opportunity to learn something tonight.

Closing Notes

  • Courtney Lee remains out with that nagging neck injury.