Kristaps Porzingis returned to the Knicks lineup on Monday night vs. Portland after missing Saturday’s game at Houston.
Enes Kanter, though, missed his third straight game with back spasms, but said he’s day to day and hopes to return on Wednesday against Miami.
So Joakim Noah was active for the first time this season.
Noah hadn’t played in an NBA game since Feb. 4. He was injured last season and then suspended for a performance-enhancing drug violation. The suspension ended on Nov. 13.
“He hasn’t played in a while, so I think he’s going to be a little fired up when he gets in there,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Jo is focused at practice. He knows what we’re doing, so I think if he gets in there he’s going to be great.”
Noah entered the game with 7:04 left in the second quarter, blocked a shot 13 seconds later and got his first basket on a short hook shot with 5:46 remaining in the period. He finished with two points in 2:54.
Noah was the third center behind Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez, the latter of whom returned to the main rotation two games ago.
“Sometimes it’s tough,” Hornacek said of Hernangomez. “You don’t play for a lot of games and then you get thrown in there and everybody expects you to have this 15-and-10 game. He’s just got to go out there and work hard. Now he’s gotten his feet wet a couple times of being in that rotation. I expect him to get even better. Still, the focus is defense. We don’t care about those guys and scoring.”
No lead safe
Hornacek said the phenomenon of double-digit leads being built and then evaporating within a game — or even a quarter — is not going to stop.
“I think if you look around the league we’ve got to get off that subject of leads coming and going,” Hornacek said. “No lead is going to be safe in this league anymore. The amount of possessions that are in a game, the way that teams shoot threes . . . It’s going to happen a lot and that’s why we try to tell our guys every play matters.”
Baker to Westchester
Guard Ron Baker was assigned to the Westchester Knicks for Monday’s G League game against Windy City.