Encouraging sign for Knicks’ Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. shot around before the game, and he got a little more air under his feet on his jumpers and three-point attempts than he did earlier in the week.
The Knicks’ medical staff re-evaluated Hardaway’s stress injury in his lower left leg Tuesday and said he has progressed to doing more court work.
“He’s able to push off his leg a little bit,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “They’ve given him the green light for a little jumping. Not a big jump but a little jump. He was out there shooting a little bit today so that’s a great sign.”
Hardaway was wearing the brace when he shot and still hasn’t been cleared for running. He missed his 10th consecutive game. The Knicks haven’t given a timetable on when Hardaway could return. They said he will be re-evaluated next week.
Beasley’s in — for now
Before Michael Beasley’s 32 points led the Knicks to a 102-93 win over the Celtics, Hornacek didn’t guarantee he would be in the regular rotation when Hardaway comes back.
Beasley went back to coming off the bench because Kristaps Porzingis returned from a knee injury Thursday. But with Porzingis scoring only one point, Hornacek turned to Beasley and he was clutch against Boston.
The Knicks need Beasley’s scoring as he proved Thursday night. He’s averaged 23.4 points in the last five games he started for Porzingis. But Hornacek left the door open on Beasley’s role when Hardaway returns. Hornacek likes what Lance Thomas brings defensively and as a leader.
“Mike knows his role,” Hornacek said before the game. “If KP’s out he obviously gets the bigger minutes. I thought he played great in filling in for him. He really helped us get some points on the board. Defensively I liked what he was doing. He’s definitely a rotation guy for us.
“We have still Tim out. That enables us to put Lance in there a little bit more so Mike’s still going to get that rotation. When Tim does comes back, it kind of goes back to ‘How are we going to do it?’ But he’s played well. Mike has proved that he deserves some minutes.”
Polls are open
Voting for the Feb. 18 All-Star Game tipped off Thursday on NBA.com and the NBA app. Voting across all other platforms begins on Christmas.
For the second straight year, NBA players, media and fans will select the All-Star Game starters. Fans account for 50 percent of the vote, while players and media make up 25 percent each.
The wrinkle this season is the East and West rosters will be chosen by two captains — the leading vote-getters from each conference.