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Knicks have high hopes for Damyean Dotson's shooting

Knicks guard Damyean Dotson puts in a layup

Knicks guard Damyean Dotson puts in a layup against the Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 9. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Damyean Dotson hit his first five shots from three-point range during his 18-point first quarter Friday against Minnesota at Madison Square Garden. But he scored only two more points in the final three quarters and the Knicks ended up with their 18th straight home loss.

They can tie the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks’ NBA record for consecutive home losses Sunday night against San Antonio.

“You never want to have your name on that, but I’ve been on both sides of it,” coach David Fizdale said at practice Saturday. “So that’s not going to be the definition of me as a coach. That’s not going to be the definition of these guys as a player . . .

“I’ve been a part of a 27-game winning streak [as an assistant with Miami]. That’s the league. It’s going to torture you some days and it’s going to give you great rewards some days. For where our team and organization is right now, the league is going to beat up on us a little bit until we get to the place where we fill out our roster the way we want.”

That’s for the summer. Right now, they’re experiencing a cold winter. The Knicks are 11-48, the worst record in the Eastern Conference and only one game better than the NBA-worst Suns (11-50). . They have lost 19 of 20, 27 of 29 and 32 of 35.

They’ve been trying to develop several young guys amid the rubble of these losing efforts, and Dotson is one of them. The 6-6 shooting guard has flashed potential as an NBA sophomore, especially with that outside touch of his.

“I just think that shooting is such a difference-maker in this league,” Fizdale said. “You’ve got a young guy like that, he can potentially become a great shooter. I think he’s a very good shooter. I think that has a lot of value. To have a guy that plays that hard with that kind of motor, you can see what it does for other teams.

“You’ve got the guys like [JJ] Redick and [Kyle] Korver and the people like that that can really fly without the ball and make shots. It adds a whole other dimension to the team.”

Dotson missed eight of his last nine shots against Minnesota to finish 7-for-16, including 5-for-9 on three-pointers. But the 18 points marked the most in one quarter by a Knick this season.

“I felt like I had it going,” he said. “I was in a zone.”

He arrived as a second-round pick out of Houston in 2017 and averaged 4.1 points and 10.8 minutes as a rookie. He also played with Westchester in the G League, starting all 13 of his games and averaging 18.2 points.

This season, he has been among the starting five in 17 of his 50 games for the Knicks, including seven of the last nine. He’s averaging 24.9 minutes and 9.5 points overall, including four games with at least 20, and is  shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 37.4  percent from three-point range.

“I’ve been in and out of the starting lineup, in and out of rotations,” he said. “I’m just coming and working hard, being true to myself and just knowing I’ve invested time in myself and my team. Come practice hard, play hard. It’ll pay off eventually.”

There hasn’t been much of a payoff at home, where they are 4-24 and haven’t won since Dec. 1. “I don’t think one game we came into the Garden and stunk it up,” Dotson said. “It’s just one of those quarters that we lose maybe like eight points or so . . . We just can’t come up with it in the end. I don’t think our fans are mad at us. I think they see us competing and playing hard.”

Notes & quotes: Center DeAndre Jordan sprained his left ankle during practice. He’s listed as doubtful for Sunday . . .  Frank Ntilikina will miss his 12th straight game. It sounds as if the second-year point guard still has a ways to go before returning from a sore groin. The Knicks had him re-evaluated and said in their statement that Ntilikina “continues to improve and will progress his rehab, including running.”


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