New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee discusses when he thinks he could come back from injury.
Chris Iseman, Staff Writer, @chrisiseman
NEW YORK — Even after Trey Burke left in the first half of the Knicks’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Frank Ntilikina stayed on the bench.
He never left it, at least to get in the game.
Ntilikina received a “DNP” in the Knicks’ 136-134 overtime win over the Bucks at the Garden for what David Fizdale called a “Coach’s decision.”
“As you could see with these guys, none of them are ever in the dungeon,” Fizdale said. “He was the example of my postgame speech because if you watch our bench tonight, he was the most energetic, the first one up, the first one rooting guys on, the one making sure people knew what they were supposed to do coming out timeouts. And that’s not easy when you’re getting a DNP.”
Ntilikina, who started the first 14 games of the season, came into the night averaging 5.9 points per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from the perimeter. He was scoreless in each of the past two games.
Fizdale said that in recent games, he’s been going to Ntilikina in the first half. If it didn’t go well, he’d bring in Damyean Dotson.
Dotson had responded.
After receiving four straight DNP’s, Dotson averaged 16.5 points over the previous two games.
Despite his offensive struggles, Ntilikina is still an elite defensive player. Fizdale said he was considering bringing Ntilikina in for a few possessions toward the end of the game.
That didn’t happen.
Not an easy situation for Ntilikina, though he tried to make the best of it.
“Of course as players everybody wants to play,” Ntilikina said. “As a great player and a great teammate you’ve got go through the situation and bring, like I always say, I want to bring what I can bring to the team. On the bench I’m going to bring my IQ and talk to the team. I’m going to cheer for them. I’m just going to stay positive for them. All I want is our team to be successful.”
Fizdale’s rotations have changed throughout the season. He has been adamant that just because a player might not see minutes for a game or multiple games, they’re still always on the cusp of seeing minutes.
He reiterated that after Saturday’s win.
‘They know one thing about me is that they’re never out,” Fizdale said. “They’re never in the dog house with me. They always have a chance to get themselves back in the rotation.”