PHOENIX – Call him the sleepless Knicks starting point keeper.
Elfrid Payton became a new father on Thursday but didn't want to miss a game because of the milestone.
With his girlfriend, who gave birth to a little girl at 9 a.m. on Friday, Payton, who missed the team flight to Phoenix on Thursday, flew on time for the game on Friday afternoon.
The Knicks had called Payton's absence "personal reasons" because the former Louisiana-Lafayette Point Guard wanted to calm it down.
He appeared in the Talking Stick Resort Arena 80 minutes before the start and had missed the morning shoot-around.
Incredible, Payton scored 15 points with six assists and five rebounds.
"It was hard – I hardly slept," said Payton after the defeat between 120 and 112. "I was awake all night. Nothing was routine today. I appreciate that my teammates stay with me. "
Payton said he had a couple of conversations with Knicks Brass about going inside.
"We definitely talked to the front office about it," said Payton. "We decided to do it."
"Really, it was his choice," said interim coach Mike Miller. "He wanted to be here. We are all excited to see how committed he is to his team, his teammates and how much he wants to play. "
Payton started the game 3 out of 3 and easily got into the basket so the hectic day didn't bother him early.
"He still has plenty of time to warm up," Miller said before Payton arrived. "His shooting time is over, so he has his full shooting time and his full warm-up. He gets his normal training routine in before the game."
Owner James Dolan takes the trip to the west coast of the Knicks and was in the locker room before the Phoenix game. Dolan – who owns the forum, the former home of the Lakers – does business in Los Angeles, where the Knicks compete against the Clippers and Lakers for four nights at the Staples Center.
Dennis Smith Jr. missed his fourth game in a row with a tight shot.
A year ago, Knicks Point Guard Frank Ntilikina struggled with former coach David Fizdale before the groin problems began to fall.
From January 4 to 11, 2019, Ntilikina was sitting on a bench and was absorbing four "DNP-CD". At the end of January, he was almost ready for the season with a groin injury that never healed.
The start of 2020 for the 2017 lottery was a blast. Late in the fourth quarter against Portland on New Year's Day, he zoomed down the right side and headed for a right-handed monster jam. The normally stoic Ntilikina raised her arms in the air as the crowd in the garden went wild.
"It was a good moment, a good response," said Ntilikina before scoring six points on Friday night with two assists and two rebounds against the Suns. “I felt the game was over. It wasn't a party – I'm just happy about the win. "