GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Kurt Rambis has talked about the Knicks needing to get more connected and doing it through practicing and scrimmaging. But Saturday’s practice was missing three very important players.
Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Arron Afflalo “got dismissed from practice” to deal with “some little things,” Rambis said.
The usually open Rambis didn’t really have any specifics on any of the players, and said “as of right now,” he expects them to play Sunday against the Heat.
“We’ll see if it becomes problematic tomorrow,” Rambis said.
Anthony’s surgically repaired left knee has been sore of late, but Rambis said it wasn’t that. The Knicks’ medical staff said Anthony “wasn’t feeling great,” according to Rambis.
“To be honest, the medical staff said he needs the day off, so I didn’t get specific with them,” Rambis said.
Porzingis, Rambis said, had a little knee soreness. “Specifically what it was I have no idea, so there was no sense of pushing it,” Rambis said.
Afflalo suffered a bruised thigh Wednesday night against Indiana but played in Friday night’s win over Orlando. Rambis said “as far as I know,” Afflalo’s problem is his thigh.
The official word from the club is that the three players had “recovery days” and that they’re not being listed on the injury report for Sunday, when the Knicks will go for their first two-game winning streak in more than a month.
It turned into a light workout consisting of shooting and some players who are in and out of the rotation playing three-on-three, with Rambis and other coaches watching.
“I would have done a little bit more than we ended up doing just because of the guys needing to be out of practice,” Rambis said.
Anthony’s physical and mental health continues to be a topic, especially with the Knicks (25-35) reeling toward a third straight year of missing the playoffs.
The Celtics reportedly were interested in acquiring Anthony before the trade deadline. Anthony has said he won’t waive his no-trade clause, but it’s something he could reconsider this offseason, considering the state of the franchise.
Anthony has looked and sounded more frustrated than he ever had during his Knicks career. He will be 32 in May and wants to play on a contending team, but the Knicks still are a few moves away from that.
“Losing’s got to be hard,” Rambis said. “I’m sure that’s frustrating for him. It’s obviously frustrating for everybody, but I just always felt that all players have to do whatever they can to make that unit that they’re playing with and the team in general play.
“All players want to win a championship. All players want to get in the playoffs. That’s when it’s really fun. The regular season is a grind. So losing and not getting in the playoffs is frustrating for us all, but it’s probably more so for him.”
Anthony has altered his game for the good of the team this season, but it hasn’t led to the results he is seeking. He’s taking 2.4 fewer shots per game and averaging a career-best 4.2 assists. Anthony, surprisingly, is the only player in the league who leads his team in scoring, rebounding and assists.
“He’s been terrific this year,” Rambis said. “His overall team play has gotten better, his willingness to move the basketball. So he’s getting double-teamed in his post-up situations, isolations, he’s handling the ball in pick-and-rolls. He’s getting better at reading what the defense is doing and moving the ball along.
“He seems to be playing with more maturity, more clarity out there in terms of what he can do team-wise and have an impact. And he seems to be more comfortable in allowing that to happen rather than just being a scorer out there.”