Enes Kanter did his usual dirty work and was a force inside Tuesday night, but he also showed some impressive playmaking ability.
The Knicks center led a couple of fast breaks in a 111-95 win over the Nets. One ended in Kanter taking a feed from Jarrett Jack and throwing it down. On the other, Kanter threw a bounce pass to Doug McDermott for a dunk.
“I felt like Magic Johnson out there,” Kanter said after one of his best games as a Knick. “I just played. We’re just having fun out there. The assists just came with it.”
Kanter filled up the boxscore in helping the Knicks (23-28) to their second straight victory in their first game at Madison Square Garden in more than two weeks. He shot 8-for-10, scored 20 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, matched his season high with five assists and blocked two shots. It was Kanter’s second 20-20 game of the season. He had 31 points and 22 rebounds in a Christmas Day loss to the Sixers.
“Enes was a monster today,” Kristaps Porzingis said. “Just a bulldozer. He did what he does.”
Kanter seems to be playing the way he did earlier in the season. It was his second straight double-double and third consecutive 20-point game. If he can continue this way, it could help the Knicks push for a playoff spot.
“He’s our energizer,” Jeff Hornacek said. “He gets everybody going. He cleans up our missed shots.”
Kanter was playing with and through some pain. He got hit in the mouth by McDermott during practice Monday, causing a laceration in his upper lip that required seven stitches.
“I won’t be a lip model anymore,” Kanter said. “He owes me a couple assists.”
McDermott got him one.
Still no Noah
It doesn’t sound as if Joakim Noah will be returning to the Knicks anytime soon, if at all.
Hornacek said Noah wouldn’t be in Boston Wednesday when the Knicks start a two-game trip. Noah has been away from the Knicks for “personal reasons” since last Wednesday.
“There’s no real update,” Hornacek said. “Not tonight, and not tomorrow night. We’ll have to see from there.”
The Knicks have been trying to trade Noah, and are expected to continue as the Feb. 8 deadline nears. Moving his contract, which has another two years and $37.8 million left on it, will be difficult, though.
Ron Baker suffered a right shoulder injury after being inadvertently kicked by DeMarre Carroll in the second quarter. He didn’t return, and there’s fear it could be dislocated.
The Knicks said X-rays were negative. Baker didn’t travel to Boston and will have an MRI Wednesday. Hornacek said Baker’s arm was hanging.
“It looked like it had been dislocated because he was kind of holding it down,” Hornacek said. “Hopefully, we will get some good news tomorrow.”