WASHINGTON, D.C. — With Julius Randle remaining in New York for personal reasons, Obi Toppin got the starting assignment Saturday night. But his absence also meant that Kevin Knox got a chance at extended playing time and he made the most of it.
Knox scored 12 points on four three-point field goals, all in the first half.
"Every minute matters," Knox said. "[Tom Thibodeau] preaches that all the time. Whether you get in two minutes, three minutes, 30 seconds, every single minute matters on this team. We’ve got a lot of great players. You’ve got to fight for everything you want."
Knox hoped that he caught the coach’s eye with more than just the long-range shooting.
"Yeah, 100%," Knox said. "I think tonight my energy on defense was pretty good. Everyone has a few mistakes here and there but I was in the right spot a lot of times, really showing a lot of my help, trying to rebound a little bit better, too. I think the shot was feeling good, but I was really focused on the other end."
Noel sits again
Nerlens Noel sat out his second straight preseason game with a sore left knee, but Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he isn’t worried about it.
"Not really. He’s doing parts of practice," Thibodeau said. "This time of the year, you’re going to have bumps and bruises. If you’re a veteran player, you navigate through it. We’ll take it slow. We wanted to get a look at some players anyway. We have a pretty good understanding of what he can do. He’s played well in practice but he’s got a little bit of soreness. We’ll err on the side of caution."
With Mitchell Robinson still working his way back from surgery to repair a broken right foot — he ran sprints at the morning shootaround Saturday — Taj Gibson got the start at center.
The Knicks held their morning shootaround at Georgetown, and Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing spoke with Thibodeau and some of the players. "He was terrific, obviously very gracious to allow us to practice there," Thibodeau said. " . . . Always great to see him. We all know what he meant to the Knicks — still means to the Knicks. Probably the all-time-greatest Knick. It was great for him to have the opportunity to spend some time with us. We were the fortunate ones.’’