Kevin Knox shot 1-for-6 to start Saturday’s game against the Bulls, seemingly heading toward the sort of night he has had all too often in which he gets buried on the bench down the stretch, watching the finish.
But this time he came back and came on, hitting his last three shots and finishing with 12 points and six rebounds — four offensive — to help the Knicks hang on for a 125-115 victory at the Garden.
“We’ve been seeing the build-up to it,” interim coach Mike Miller said. “Everybody wants to see it immediately. We’re seeing the small steps. We’ve given him things that we want him to meet and reach which are elevated each time. He keeps hitting his numbers and doing the things that we are asking him to do. He was outstanding tonight.”
Knox was in the gym working with his own shooting coach, Chris Matthews, on Friday, a scheduled day off for the team. Matthews, who has worked with numerous NBA players, began working with Knox in Florida during the All-Star break and continued the work in New York.
“These last 20 games, I’m trying to end on a good note,” Knox said. “I just want to end on a high note. I just want to be aggressive from here on out and get to the basket and get to the free-throw line. Really, just trying to improve my defense. That’s my overall mentality going forward.”
The Knicks were without Dennis Smith Jr., who suffered a concussion Thursday. Smith will miss at least the next game on Monday while he goes through the NBA’s concussion protocol.
The Knicks did get Frank Ntilikina back after he missed the previous three games with a groin strain. Ntilikina was hampered by foul trouble early but was on the floor for much of the second half.
Reggie Bullock was held out because of illness.