Knicks must improve away from MSG as they hit road entering 2018


Now we’re about to see if the Knicks are for real or not.


Their 105-98 Christmas Day loss to the Philadelphia 76ers marked the Knicks’ last home game for the calendar year. In fact, you won’t be seeing a lot of the Knicks for the early part of 2018.


The Knicks’ game on Wednesday in Chicago begins a streak of 14 of 17 road games, which is a dangerous proposition considering that Jeff Hornacek’s team is 2-10 away from MSG.

The Knicks would love for Enes Kanter to give them the kind of performance he put Monday while on the road.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


“It’s going to be very hard to win on the road,” Kanter said. “That’s it. Because, obviously, we play really well at home. I think we just need the same energy on the road, as obviously when we play at home, the whole crowd, they give us so much energy. We need to have the same energy on the bench at the road.”


The Knicks played their 21st home game on Monday, meaning they have just 20 home dates over the final 3 ½ months. After Chicago, the Knicks play at San Antonio and New Orleans.


“The other night we gave up 34 points in the fourth quarter,” Hornacek said. “We can’t rely on trying to outscore teams at the end of the game. We have to lock teams up. Then if you get some stops and we can push the ball.”


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Kristaps Porzingis, who was 6-for-19 shooting including 2-for-9 in the fourth quarter, on his recent shooting woes: “I think it’s also I’m just learning a lot. All these games, every game I’m learning and I’m seeing all kinds of defenses, late double team, early double team right away.

Kristaps Porzingis.

Kristaps Porzingis.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


“Maybe some games they’re fronting, switching everything. So it’s an adjustment every game for me. And teams are obviously trying to make it as difficult as they can for me. Trying to force the shots I don’t want. So it’s always a battle when you’re trying to get what you want but I think it’s also just me, as the game slows down even more for me and I see what’s going on even more.


“I’m going to be capable of making the right pass or shooting the right shot. It’s my first season doing this, we’re 30-something games into the season. I’m still learning, I’m still picking up a lot of stuff, I’m watching film and I’m learning from my mistakes. I think as I get more experienced in these situations I’ll be even more efficient.”


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Sixers head coach Brett Brown gave the appropriate answer when he was asked if he ever thinks about what could’ve been had Philadelphia selected Kristaps Porzingis third overall and not Jahlil Okafor in the 2015 NBA draft.


“Next question,” was Brown’s response.


Bernard King, who set the Christmas record with 60 points for the Knicks against the Nets in 1984, attended the game. Also, singer Shakira and her boyfriend, Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique, sat courtside.

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