BOSTON - In their last dress rehearsal, the Knicks rolled out their projected opening-night starting lineup for the first time, and it was clear they need more work. But now there's no guarantee that first unit will be together on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
Arron Afflalo's problematic left hamstring tightened up early in the third quarter of Thursday night's preseason-ending 99-85 loss to the Celtics. Afflalo left the game and didn't return. He missed the first three preseason games with a hamstring strain.
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Derek Fisher seemed optimistic about Afflalo but said it's too soon to know whether he will be able to play against the Bucks.
"I can't overanalyze something we don't understand just yet," Fisher said. "We'll take a look at him closer over the next couple of days and kind of figure out what the program is and what the treatment plan is and then we can kind of decide whether we should be concerned.
"Until we really understand where he is, I don't think we can predict where he'll be on Wednesday night."
With or without Afflalo -- who left the arena without speaking to the media -- the Knicks have four practices and a shootaround to get more comfortable and in sync overall before facing the Bucks.
The Knicks hope Kristaps Porzingis can stay on the floor and make an impact. The rookie picked up three quick fouls and went to the bench just 4:21 into Thursday night's game. Porzingis played 19 minutes and finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony was less impressive. After a hot start to the preseason, he missed eight of his first nine shots and ended up 4-for-18 with eight points.
Jose Calderon led the Knicks with 17 points. Derrick Williams had 14 and Afflalo left with 10.
The Knicks ended the preseason 4-2. This was the first time Calderon, Afflalo, Anthony, Porzingis and Robin Lopez not only started together but played in the same game because of injuries and rest. Fisher said the lineup isn't set in stone and that "if it needs to change, it will."
There's been so much talk from the Knicks about their improved chemistry and defense, but neither was good Thursday night. The Celtics scored 29 points in the first quarter and built a 19-point lead in the second. The Knicks cut it to two in the third quarter, but the Celtics ultimately pulled away.
After using 36 starting lineups last season, Fisher hopes to have an established starting five and rotation this season and that it remains intact.
When the Knicks opened camp last season, the expected first unit was Calderon, Iman Shumpert, Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Samuel Dalembert. They never started a single game together or played one game together.
After last year, Fisher was hoping just to get through preseason unscathed and with a full complement of players. Now that's in question because of Afflalo.
"We'll see how the next several days go," Fisher said. "I think we got out of here without too much jeopardy for him."