It was a hard night for the Knicks Point Guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina, who were trying to keep up with Atlanta Trae Young. Both got into difficult difficulties and were essentially ineffective in the defeat of the Knicks in the preseason 100/96 against the Hawks at the Garden.
The Point Guard derby could have been won by the man who had the night off – Elfrid Payton.  Smith, who had missed the first two games with a back strain on his debut in the preseason, looked out of sync after two fouls in the first 2:23 and went to the bench. A rusty Smith finished the game with four points in one of five shots and was credited with three turnovers and three assists.
Ntilikina joined Smith and finished two fouls trying to protect Young, but remained in the game. It was such an evening. Although Ntilikina Young blocked late and caught a pass 25 seconds before the end, he scored just two points in 1
In the first half, Smith bricked a long jumper and lost the ball to the key for sales that led to Fast Break Points for Atlanta and was called for travel. He was goalless in the first half of 10 minutes.
Despite a supposedly improved Springer, Smith did not look sharp in the second half either. He was doubled on a ride and under pressure showed little balance, got into the air and threw her into Young's arms. Footer to tie the result at 91. But then he was caught by De & # 39; Andre Bembry at the next possession and tried to feed the low post.
Fizdale said Ntilikina would play "significant minutes" in a replacement role before the game – a reference coach David Fizdale agreed to release Payton the night. The theory is that Fizdale knows what he's got in Payton, the pure playmaker and strong defender who has started the first two preseason games in their third season.
While spots rookie RJ Barrett occupied the point, but his shooting was unpredictable. Barrett could not make an outside shot, but came easily to the basket. Nevertheless, he missed too many easy shots on the edge and reached with 12 points 4 of 14.
The newly contracted striker Julius Randle finished the race with 20 points, but missed a game-winning free throw with 19.2 seconds ahead.
Ntilikina's contract option for his fourth year has a 31 October deadline. Smith's option threatens a similar deadline, but it seems difficult for Knicks Brass to carry it out, since it was the key piece of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Was Ntilkina also introduced? There were suggestions in Detroit that the pistons might have some interest. On Wednesday, Butt Manager Malik Rose, a former kink, was in the garden. The Post reported last season that the Pistons asked for Damyean Dotson, who did not play on Wednesday.
Earlier that day, TNT's Stan Van Gundy said that Smith would show up as a starter. It does not look like that now.
"I guess they give Dennis Smith the first try," Van Gundy said. "You've swapped for him, he has another rookie contract, he's explosive, if he can improve his decision-making and his shooting …"
It was the first time since they became teammates that Ntilikina and Smith both That says a lot about their injury record.
The young Hawks were strengthened by the league's oldest player, 42-year-old Vince Carter, who scored four low points in the first half and 14 points finished break when the Hawks led 61-54 Carter also pressed a 3-key pointer at the last minute to finish with 17 points.