LOS ANGELES — Kristaps Porzingis has been dealing with a right knee issue, but he isn’t blaming that for his recent struggles shooting the ball.
He was coy about his wrapped knee after Friday night’s win over the Kings but then described it as “a little pinch.” Jeff Hornacek called it “a little catch” above the knee and said there’s nothing wrong structurally.
“I’m good. I’m good. I’m good,” Porzingis said. “It’s a little pinch that I’m getting when I’m not warmed up yet. Once I’m warmed up, I’m good to go. Don’t worry about it, guys.”
According to Hornacek, Porzingis said he has dealt with this before. His drop in efficiency lately has been very noticeable, though. He missed nine of his first 10 shots Friday night and ended up 6-for-19 with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
In five December games, he is shooting 31.3 percent overall (25-for-80) and 23.1 percent on three-pointers (6-for-26) and is averaging 13.8 points. Porzingis shot 49.1 percent overall and 40 percent from three-point range and averaged 19.7 points in November.
“To get out of this, what I’ve been doing my whole career is with work,” he said. “You get out of this working, shooting and just staying confident. That’s what I’m trying to do.
“Teammates are telling me to shoot when I’m open. I have to keep doing it. The shots are going to start to fall. I need to maybe relax a little bit, have some fun and the shots will start falling.”
Porzingis said he found himself thinking too much and passing up shots Friday night until one of the coaches told him to relax. He played much better in the second half.
“Sometimes when you’re young, the shots come and go, but he’s doing a lot of great stuff for us to still win games, blocking shots, having an effect on the inside,” Hornacek said.
“I tell him to just take your time. Continue to remember you’re 7-3, and just take your time. You can get your shot off.”
Rose ready to return
Derrick Rose is expected to return Sunday night against the Lakers after missing the last two games with lower-back stiffness. Rose said it has gone from spasms and sharp pain to stiffness and that he now feels loose. He went through practice, worked out afterward and said he felt no discomfort in his back. “I feel good,” Rose said. “I feel like it’s go. I let my areas that were bothering me calm down.”
The Knicks (13-10) have a chance to go four games above .500 for the first time since the 2012-13 season.