Zion Williamson of the Duke Blue Devils reacts against the...

Zion Williamson of the Duke Blue Devils reacts against the Syracuse Orange during their game in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. Credit: Getty Images/Streeter Lecka

SAN ANTONIO — While the Knicks had free time Thursday night, David Fizdale opted to study game film rather than flip on ESPN and get a look at Duke and the return of Zion Williamson. 

When he was told by reporters that Williamson had hit his first 14 shots against Syracuse, Fizdale said, “Thank God I didn’t watch it. These guys obviously because we beat them one time, these guys are playing for a lot, we’ve got to be really prepared for a hungry, determined team. I was really locked into the film.”

The countdown for Fizdale is at 13 games remaining now after the Spurs game and then he can switch the game film to the top prospects in the draft.

Injury updates

Dennis Smith Jr. sat out with a sore back, a condition that Fizdale said has been bothering Smith and getting progressively worse in recent days.

“I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but once we got here, I know him and [Damyean Dotson] collided into each other during the last game. But I just know once we got here and he had a night to go to sleep, his back locked up on them. So they want to be more cautious right now and give him another day to heal up to heal up and hopefully he’s ready for the games at home.”

His absence gave Emmanuel Mudiay a start for the first time since January.

Bat cave

With AT&T Center in the path of bat migration it has become an alarmingly regular occurrence for bats to appear flying close to the court during games. Fizdale was asked how he would respond if one flew by him Friday night, he opted for a peaceful solution.

“I like animals,” Fizdale said. “I’m an animal lover. Hopefully we can catch it and let it go where it needs to go. We don’t want to hurt it. it’s just a little bat. Our guys are probably freaking out.”

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