New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox has made some offensive adjustments, and it’s showing in the numbers.
Chris Iseman, Staff Writer, @chrisiseman
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Kevin Knox was glued to the television every Christmas Day growing up, watching the full slate of NBA games.
Now the Knicks rookie is going to have the chance to play in one of those marquee events.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity,” Knox said. “New York’s going to be popping, the Garden’s going to be crazy. It’ll be a great experience for me.”
The Knicks will host the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in the first of five nationally televised games.
These teams have already played twice this season. The Bucks won the first meeting before the Knicks won in overtime in the second matchup.
Playing the first game on Christmas Day adds some extra significance.
“It’s an honor,” Fizdale said. “That’s the game everybody wants to play in. So for these young guys that’s a great experience for them to be able to participate in that, you’ve got your family there with you. It’s New York City. You can’t beat that. But I’ve always enjoyed this game. Luckily enough I’ve been around some, gotten to coach in this game a few times.”
But for most of the Knicks, this will be their first time actually being part of a Christmas Day game.
“In this league, I feel like players are watching, even when it’s not Christmas, players around the league know what’s going on with other players and are watching different games. So it’s great,” Noah Vonleh said. “Everybody’s going to be with their families, everyone is going to have the game on. They’re gonna be with their families spending time together opening gifts, and they’re gonna be watching those four or five games. We’re the first game so we can tip off their Christmas Day, early game, 12 o’clock, so I’m looking forward to playing in that.”
Whether or not the Knicks can pull off a Christmas Day win remains to be seen. They’ve lost four straight and 11 of their last 13.
But Knox’s performances have been encouraging despite the mounting losses.
In his last six games, the 19-year-old forward is averaging 20.3 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from the perimeter.
Knox, though, is still working on sustaining his production.
Most of his scoring has been coming in the first half before fading after halftime.
In Friday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Knox had 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the first half. He then had just three points and missed all five of his field-goal attempts in the second.
Part of that comes down to conditioning. Knox is still adjusting to playing 48-minute games in the NBA after playing 40-minute games in college.
“That’s something I gotta get better at as I get older and get a little bit stronger, get better conditioned, so I can be able to have those big-time games and be able to play two full halves at my highest peak,” Knox said. “That’s something I’m gonna work on in the summer, these years that come, get my condition up so I can be able to expand my game in the first half and second half.”
On Tuesday, he’s going to have the opportunity to play on a big stage.
He won’t be watching his T.V. this year.
“I know there’s gonna be a lot of young hoopers watching, athletes out there watching from different sports,” Knox said. “There’s nothing like watching Christmas Day games from your home with your kids.”