In all the promising games Frank Ntilikina has played this season, Saturday's loss to the 76ers was one of his stronger opponents.
The Knicks Point Guard ended the game with just five points (2 out of 8 shots), three rebounds, two sales and no assists, while playing in the garden at 16:30 in the 90-87 loss.
Ntilikina played his second game after missing a couple of games with a sore groin. Interim trainer Mike Miller pointed out that the layoff could have been a factor.
"I thought he played really well on the west coast trip. Then he was away for two games, ”said Miller after a short training session on Sunday. "He couldn't practice during that time. Then you have to come back and restore your rhythm and get back into the game flow. That's exactly what he's doing.
"He's done the same thing every day. He comes in and works. He's certainly developed in certain areas. His assistant numbers have increased. That's the biggest thing, he consistently puts baskets when he's out with the second unit is. "
A groin injury got Ntilikina off track last year, forcing him to miss 32 of the Knicks' last 34 games. But he said on Thursday that last year's edition was "much more serious".
In 12 games since losing to Elfrid Payton, the defensive Ntilikina's average is 6.6 points and 3.6 assists in 17.3 minutes per game. On Saturday, he posted a minus of 16, while Payton (10 points on 5 of 14 shots, seven rebounds and seven assists) scored a plus of 13, but Miller said plus / minus can sometimes be misleading.
"You look at it, but you really have to see what the production was like and how he did his job and what the team needed then," said Miller.
Dennis Smith Jr. (tense, weird) will miss his 13th consecutive game against the Cavaliers on Monday, but the Knicks could learn more about his status until Tuesday after he was reassessed by medical personnel.
"He is making good progress," said Miller. "He practiced some. We haven't practiced anything consistent with games every day. So he could do some exercises, but not much contact and not much judgment. "
The 3-point loss of the Knicks against the 76er on Saturday was due to two losses of over 20 points.
"It's very confusing," said Payton of the team's inconsistency. "If I had the answers, we would be fine. I'm just trying to find out what makes us do it."
The Knicks have assigned Ignas Brazdeikis to the G-League Westchester. The rookie has played only nine games with the Knicks this season, while he has averaged 19.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in twelve games with Westchester.
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