The last game of March marks the coming of the end of the season, and with six games remaining, there are still some signs to watch for.
The Knicks (27–49) host the Detroit Pistons (35–40) Saturday evening in their first action in three days. The tanking Knicks have dropped two in a row and seven of 10 overall. Detroit’s season has gone awry after trading for Blake Griffin (oops), but they enter Saturday on a surprise three-game winning streak.
The two primary storylines surrounding the Knicks over the past week has been the performance of Trey Burke and the looming fate of Jeff Hornacek, who has seemingly lost the respect of the locker room. His abrupt lineup shuffling and certain comments have irked players, especially the veterans. Hopefully, there are no more blatant, embarrassing on-court incidents such as the blowup with Kyle O’Quinn and the disobedience of (recent G League call-up) Burke.
Speaking of Burke, one reason he might be feeling empowered is due to his recent play—a lone bright spot during a drab stretch. He’s scored 17.5 points per game over his past 10 games, thoroughly outplaying Emmanuel Mudiay (though Mudiay had his highest scoring game as a Knick on Wednesday with 22 points).
Some other things to look for:
• In addition to Burke, Frank Ntilikina has also been playing good basketball of late, particularly on defense, and Mudiay has perked up. The Pistons are not exactly loaded in the back court, so this matchup could present a nice opportunity for the three Knicks point guards to continue the trend.
• Blake Griffin has a bruised bone in his ankle so he’ll miss this one.
• Andre Drummond has been a beast recently, including a 24-point, 23-rebound line in the team’s victory over Washington on Thursday. Drummond has averaged 17.4 rebounds per game over his past 10, so it should be fun to watch him and Enes Kanter battle on the glass.
UPDATE: 3:19 p.m. EST.
Kanter, Lee are out; O’Quinn is playing while Ntilikina remains a game-time decision (per Stefan Bondy/Daily News).
UPDATE: 4:51 p.m. EST.
Ntilikina will not dress on Saturday, per ESPN’s Ian Begley.