The New York Knicks look to stop a three-game losing streak as the NBA trade deadline is on Thursday. Also, a fan-favorite will undergo surgery.
Bucking the Trend:
The New York Knicks have lost their last two games by a total of five points. Now 23-31, they are losers of three-in-a-row while falling to 11th place in the Eastern Conference behind Charlotte and a full four games behind eighth-place Philadelphia for the final playoff spot.
Sunday’s matinee loss to the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden was especially heartbreaking as they lost by a final of 99-96 to the team with the league’s worst record for the second time this season. Kent Bazemore hit a three-pointer from the right corner on the Hawks final possession to clinch the win, capping a 7-0 Hawks run to close the game. Tim Hardaway Jr. missed what would have been game-tying three-point attempt at the buzzer as the Knicks fell to 16-11 at home.
The Knicks actually looked for a four-point lead and control of the game when Hardaway’s dunk and potential three-point play was overturned due to what was dubbed a correctable error. The referees had mistakenly shorted Bazemore a free-throw, thus they rewound the clock to the point of the mistake and allowed Bazemore the attempt, negating the ensuing Hardaway basket. The Knicks seemed to lose focus at that juncture and never recovered.
This was the second time in a row the Knicks lost on their final defensive possession.
In come the Milwaukee Bucks and interim coach Joe Prunty who’s led the team to a 6-1 mark since the firing of Jason Kidd.
The Knicks dropped a nail-biter last Friday to the 29-23 Bucks by two, on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game-winner. The aptly named Greek Freak broke a 90-90 tie with a driving left-handed layup from the top-of-the-key with 1.9 seconds remaining.
Tim Hardaway misfired on a last-second three-point attempt to give the Knicks the loss. Enes Kanter led the Knicks with 17-point and 18-rebounds while Antetokounmpo’s 29-points and 11-rebounds led the Bucks.
Tuesday’s game at Madison Square Garden is the second of four matchups against Milwaukee. The Knicks will visit the Bucks in March before hosting them again in April.
The Knicks Public Relations Department has announced that guard Ron Baker will undergo surgery on his injured left-shoulder on Wednesday and is out for the season. It will take Baker 4-6 months to recover. Baker dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum when he collided with Nets forward DeMarre Carroll during the Knicks 111-95 over Brooklyn at the Garden.
The Knicks are winless without Baker.
Baker, in his second season with the Knickerbockers, made the team with a non-guaranteed contract as an undrafted free-agent out of Wichita State after turning heads in their summer league. He quickly became a something of a Garden cult-hero, winning fans with his hustle and unbridled enthusiasm. After excelling on defense and earning regular minutes, his contract became guaranteed last season and he was subsequently given a two-year deal by the Knicks during the offseason.
Dubbed Ron Burgundy after the eponymous Will Ferrell character, the fan favorite again became a fixture in Jeff Hornacek’s rotation when Tim Hardaway went on the shelf.
Ron Baker is scheduled to undergo Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization surgery on his right shoulder this Wednesday, Feb. 7 and will be out for the remainder of the season. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Answorth Allen, with an expected recovery time of 4-6 months.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 5, 2018
New York Knicks rookie guard Frank Ntilikina sat out practice on Monday, according to a report by SNY., after he was held out of the second-half of the Knicks heartbreaking 99-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Ntililkina, who missed much of summer league and the preseason with knee issue, informed Ian Begley of ESPN that the two issues were unrelated.
Ntilikina, who told Begley that the injury was cumulative, has managed to stay relatively injury-free, missing just three-games in what has thus far been an up-and-down rookie season. While effective on defense, the lottery pick has struggled with his outside shot and playmaking ability.
The French native was taken seventh overall by the Knicks in last year’s draft and is averaging 5.3 points and 3.4 assists-per-game in 20-minutes of playing time.
As Thursday’s NBA trade deadline approaches, every player in the league is checking their social media feeds and smartphones for news like the rest of us. The Knicks, looking more-and-more like a lottery team, have been hesitant to take on salary or mortgage their future. However, rumors surround multiple players.
According to multiple reports, Knicks Center Willy Hernangomez is seeking a trade from the Knicks ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports explains that Hernangomez’ representatives contacted the Knicks recently to inform them of his desire to play elsewhere.
Sources: Center Willy Hernangomez seeks trade from the New York Knicks before NBA's Thursday deadline. Story: https://t.co/64RBpYm9Fv
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 5, 2018
The Knicks seem disinclined to deal the disgruntled center.
One center they are looked to deal is Joakim Noah, except they have found no takers. Noah remains at home since leaving the team following multiple altercations with head coach Jeff Hornacek. Teams seem disinclined to take on a four-year $72-million contract while the Knicks seem reluctant to include a first-round-pick that team covets.