GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It’s unlikely that Kyrie Irving will receive a warm reception at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night. Not with him wearing a Nets jersey in his first game at MSG with his new team.
After all, many Knicks fans had hoped Irving and Kevin Durant would end up playing together in Manhattan rather than Brooklyn. But the Nets wound up signing both superstars in free agency.
“I think it’ll be crazy. It’s not like [Kyrie’s] going back to Boston, though,” Damyean Dotson said with a laugh after Saturday’s practice.
The Knicks and Nets are struggling as they wrap up their season series (the Nets have won two of the first three games). The Nets (19-25) ended a five-game losing streak Saturday night by beating the Pistons and the Knicks (12-34) have dropped 10 of their last 12.
“We believe we can win that game,” Marcus Morris said Friday. “I’m looking forward to that game, for the crowd to be hyped. Like two dogs fighting, trying to win.”
If Dotson can keep up his strong play, it certainly will help the Knicks’ cause. With RJ Barrett still sidelined indefinitely because of a sprained right ankle, Dotson has stepped up, averaging 16.7 points and shooting 55% from three-point range in his last three games.
How confident is Dotson in his three-point shot? “I guess as confident as you can be,” he said. “As long as it’s going in, I’ll keep shooting it.”
In Friday’s 118-112 loss to the Raptors, Dotson had a season-high 21 points and shot 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.
“Right now, [Dotson is] really effective in doing what he’s doing. He’s giving us a good lift,” coach Mike Miller said.
Dotson added: “If your teammates believe in you and your coaches believe in you, you have no choice but to believe in yourself and play with confidence. You get open looks. Guys are looking for me and I’ve just got to keep letting it fly.”
The Knicks announced that Barrett, who has missed the last four games, continues to make progress. He transitioned from crutches to a walking boot and will be re-evaluated in one week.
“[RJ’s] studying the game. He’s talking about things that he’s seeing in the game,” Miller said of the 19-year-old rookie. “He’s at a point where he’s played a good number of NBA games and he has this valuable experience. And now he’s taking it in from a different perspective. He’s watching and seeing the game differently.
“But I know he wants to get out there and play again.”