Ron Baker #31 of the New York Knicks looks to...

Ron Baker #31 of the New York Knicks looks to make a play between Malcolm Delaney #5 and Tim Hardaway Jr. #10 of the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Knicks had lost 10 of 12 and four of their last five when they arrived at Monday’s game against Atlanta at the Garden. It was a situation that called for a change, Jeff Hornacek said. So the coach put Ron Baker in the starting five and moved Courtney Lee to the bench.

The bottom-line result was no better as the Hawks beat the Knicks, 108-107. But although Baker missed three shots on the game’s first possession, it appears Hornacek got what he wanted out of the rookie, who had 12 points on four three-pointers to go with two steals and several deflections on defense.

“Ron just competes. He’s in the right spots almost all the time,” Hornacek said. “If he’s supposed to help on a roller, he does it and hustles back to his man. He’s a very solid player. And you saw he’s not afraid of anything. The first possession of the game, he gets three shots, he kept firing away. He’s a confident player.”

With the Knicks, there are only so many ways to shake up the starting five and get what Hornacek called “that guy that kind of elevates the other guys.” Removing Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah — especially with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined with a sore Achilles — weren’t realistic options.

Lee said all the right words about the demotion, but it clearly didn’t sit well with him. The eight-year veteran was signed in the offseason for four years and $48 million and has been the Knicks’ most reliable perimeter defender. Yet he was the choice to join the second unit in favor of an undrafted rookie.

“You’ve got to change something — we’re not winning games,” Lee said in a tone that communicated his irritation. “I know I do my job, be professional, come in and work hard and I’m coachable. So it’s the easiest thing to do, of course. It’s not personal at all. It’s for the team. We’re trying to win. If [Hornacek] feels that’s the case to help us win, you’ve got to run with it.”

After the locker room closed, Lee posted on his Instagram account two pictures from the “Dumb and Dumber’’ film franchise. One was a sad-faced Jeff Daniels and the other a silly shot of Eric Christian Olsen (from the prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd’’). Both posts were taken down.

Monday night he again posted: “I posted a pic of dumb n dumber cuz that was my mood, no jab at no1. It’s dumb that we have a talented team and we’re in position to win games n keep losing by 1 possession. We’ll figure it out collectively as a team but that was my mood after the game. Has nothing to with any change, rotation, system, players, coaches, so let that be clear. In other news Happy MLK day.”

With Porzingis out, Mindaugus Kuzminskas also moved into the starting lineup and delivered 38 productive minutes, finishing with 14 points, 6-for-10 shooting, five rebounds, two steals and a nasty-looking, bloody bruise under his eye. When Porzingis returns — possibly Wednesday night — there will be another change in the starting lineup, but Hornacek seemed happy with Baker’s contribution.

Hornacek explained the move to Lee and Baker before the game. Lee said part of the explanation was to get him playing more with Brandon Jennings on the second unit. However, he played only five minutes in the third quarter and not all of it with Jennings. Justin Holiday played 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and Lee never got into the game.

Jennings sounded skeptical about the reason for the lineup shift, saying, “That’s why Courtney’s on the second unit? . . . You come in here, you don’t really know what’s going to happen.”

Baker said that when Hornacek told him of the move, he said “to bring energy on the defensive end and just run the lane on offense and help everyone be on the same page while I was in the game.”

When asked if supplanting Lee in the starting five caused any discomfort between the teammates, he replied, “There’s no awkwardness.”

He added, “Taking Courtney Lee’s spot tonight, he was one of the first guys to come over to me to give me confidence and tell me to be aggressive and play hard tonight. So when you have vets like him and Derrick and Melo telling you to be aggressive and don’t be shy with the trigger, just to come out and play, that gives a player like me who’s a rookie a lot of confidence and that [comfort] to come out and play with these guys.”

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