New York Knicks: Kevin Knox silences criticism with breakout game

New York Knicks Kevin Knox (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Kevin Knox (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Kevin Knox shined for the New York Knicks in Saturday night’s overtime win.

The start to Kevin Knox‘s rookie season with the New York Knicks was slow. He battled an ankle injury that took away seven games and struggled shooting, entering Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 32.5 percent shooting for 7.5 points.

After Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Knox was subject to public criticism, via a report from Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“Sometimes [Knox] looks like he doesn’t want to play,” was one quote from an assistant coach, who also called him “soft.” A scout also criticized how he played.

Well, if Knox’s performance in this overtime win, 136-134, was any indication, he performed quite well.

The rookie forward started just 3-for-10 from the field, but his second half was electric. On 9-for-20 shooting for the game, he had a season and career-high 26 points on five three-pointers. Four rebounds, four assists, one steal and one big block on Giannis Antetokounmpo was added.

Knox hit consecutive outside shots at one point, as well, as part of New York’s fourth-quarter comeback. It was all part of his confident and aggressive performance, which flashed what he did in the Summer League earlier this year.

Head coach David Fizdale even left Knox out in crunch time, taking a spot that usually went to Enes Kanter or Allonzo Trier.

Emmanuel Mudiay‘s game can’t be ignored, either, especially after those consecutive late-game shots near the end of the game, and the one three-pointer to tie and send it to overtime.

It was, perhaps, Mudiay’s best night with the Knicks, too, or matching what he did against the New Orleans Pelicans. That’s with 28 points on 10-for-18 shooting and seven assists.

The Knicks were still shredded by Antetokoumpo’s 33 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists, and they had to play perfectly to topple the NBA’s highest-scoring offense. On 53.1 percent shooting and 58.8 percent from behind the arc, they may have.

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. remains in a shooting slump, even with 22 points, as he shot just 36.4 percent. However, his ability as a playmaker broke through on eight assists.
  • Trey Burke‘s injury initially overshadowed the game in the first half. The Knicks declared a sprained right knee, and he did not return.
  • A lingering storyline, along with this, will be Frank Ntilikina‘s zero minutes. He went scoreless in the previous two games and for the fifth time in the last 13 games. After a game like this, Courtney Lee‘s availability to play and not seeing time after Burke’s injury, the Frenchman might have a minutes dilemma ahead.
  • Speaking of Lee, the Knicks said he could have played, but Fizdale never had the 33-year-old make his season debut.
  • Amidst all this, Damyean Dotson had yet another good game off the bench, with 21 points in 33 minutes. It’s difficult to see him leaving the rotation anytime soon.

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The New York Knicks will return to the court on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Washington Wizards. Can they make it back-to-back wins?