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Knicks coach David Fizdale opts not to start Mitchell Robinson, preferring to have him come off bench

Knicks coach David Fizdale looks on against the

Knicks coach David Fizdale looks on against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Knicks shuffled the starting lineup again Monday night against the Kings, pulling Lance Thomas and inserting Luke Kornet. But coach David Fizdale resisted putting the player into the starting five who has been the most consistent Knick of late — Mitchell Robinson.

Robinson started 12 games earlier this season, and the most common trait of the energetic rookie was constant foul trouble. In the last three of those starts, he averaged only 17 minutes and picked up five, five and four fouls.

Despite coming off the bench since those games in November, he has picked up his play of late. In the last four games before Monday, he scored in double figures in each, reached double figures in rebounds in three of them and added 4.3 blocked shots in an average of 28.3 minutes per game.

Against the Kings, however, he fouled out in only 19 minutes off the bench after recording four points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

“Yeah, we thought about it,” Fizdale said of starting Robinson. “But he’s in such a good groove right now, it’s like why mess with it? Keep him where he’s still playing good minutes and getting better every game. I’m not ready to throw him right there. He’s had about a month of good basketball. I figure let’s keep him in a good rhythm and playing well.

“I just like his rhythm right now. Why mess with it? Because the risk is the foul trouble. If you do throw him in there, I’d be pretty teed off at myself the first game I throw him in there, he gets two and I’ve got to sit him for a bunch of minutes. I want to keep the kid feeling good and in a good rhythm. It allows me to do some different stuff with him in the second half. When he’s playing well, I can play him more minutes. I can even start him in the second half like I did one game at home. But it gives me a lot of flexibility without risking him.”

Jordan out again

DeAndre Jordan missed his fifth straight game with a sprained ankle. Fizdale said he hopes Jordan can play Wednesday in Phoenix.  

  

  

  

  

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