GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The first half has come to an end. The Knicks will be hoping to slow their 60-loss pace in the second half of the schedule.
When they face Phoenix Thursday night at the Garden, they will bring along an 11-30 record after going an NBA-worst 17-65 last season. The NBA-best Bucks trounced them in Milwaukee Tuesday night after the Knicks claimed a surprising home win Sunday over Miami.
Mike Miller can see some progress. After a 4-18 start under David Fizdale, the Knicks are 7-12 on Miller’s watch. The interim coach just wants to see some more consistency.
“I think everything is trending in the right direction,” Miller said Wednesday as practice wound down. “We have been pleased with the progress that we’ve been making moving forward. We’ve had guys have really, really good segments and have had good runs through this part. We’re working on the consistency of doing these little things every day.”
RJ Barrett has looked like one reason to tune in for the second half of the season.
The third overall pick out of Duke is averaging 14.3 points, but Barrett is at 17.3 in his last six games and 22.5 in his last two. The 6-6 guard went 5-for-7 on three-point attempts against the Bucks and 13-for-16 from the line combined against them and the Heat.
“I feel like everybody coming into the league, like all the stars, you see where they’re at when they first came in and see where they’re at now,” Barrett said. “It’s just the work that you put in, it shows …
“I’ve been trying to learn a lot, trying to learn the business, trying to learn the game as much as I can, so that hopefully as this team keeps growing, I can be a piece to a winning team.”
Kenny Wooten would like to be another piece. The springy 6-8 forward out of Oregon, who was standing out in the G League crowd with his dunks and blocks for the Westchester Knicks, received a two-way contract Tuesday.
“He’s a freak,” Barrett said. “On my visit to Oregon, I see Kenny put tape in his hand, jump and touch the top of the backboard, and we have to get a ladder to get the tape down.”
Miller indicated the undrafted rookie won’t be playing for the parent Knicks just yet. But Wooten is thrilled with his new deal.
“I knew that there was going to be an opportunity given here,” Wooten said, “and I felt like I just had to wait my turn.”
Notes & quotes: Marcus Morris (neck) and Frank Ntilikina (groin) are questionable. Dennis Smith Jr. (oblique) is out.