June 16, 2024

Knicks might be missing key player vs. Hornets

The New York Knicks seemed to have encountered some turbulence during their best stretch of the season.

Knicks star forward Julius Randle suffered a dislocated right shoulder on Saturday against the Miami Heat and will undergo an MRI, according to multiple reports.

Randle, who is averaging 24 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, likely will be unavailable for the Knicks against the host Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

“He’s a guy that plays through things and that’s what you love about him,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s a warrior. I don’t want to speculate until we have the information.”

Despite the injury, the Knicks continued their recent surge, beating the Heat at home 125-109 on Saturday. Jalen Brunson posted 32 points in that game.

New York will look to build on a season-best six-game winning streak when it travels to face Charlotte. The Knicks will lean on their depth if Randle is forced to miss extended time.

“I also feel that if (Randle is) out, the next guy gets in there and gets it done,” Thibodeau said.

Brunson said it’s a blow to the team if Randle misses time.

“We don’t want to see that from anybody, especially him with how he has been playing,” Brunson said. “He means a lot to us.”

The Knicks have scored more than 120 points in three of their last four games, which is bound to be a concern for a Charlotte team that has been weak defensively. Brunson has scored at least 30 points in six of the last seven games.

The Hornets were without point guard LaMelo Ball because of ankle soreness Saturday night, forcing Ish Smith into Ball’s starting spot at point guard. Nick Smith Jr. also needed to play more minutes at point guard.

“He’s a scorer,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “He’s much more comfortable off the ball.”

The Hornets gave up 47 first-quarter points to Utah on Saturday night and trailed by as many as 36 in their 134-122 home loss.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Clifford said. “We tried harder (in the second half). And our defense was better in the second half.”

Forward P.J. Washington scored 43 points off the Charlotte bench, the most points in the NBA this season by a reserve. Charlotte center Nick Richards scored a career-high 26 points in the loss.

Rookie Brandon Miller continues to make some strides at times for the Hornets.

Knicks might be missing key player vs. Hornets

“He brings a lot of intangibles,” Clifford said.

New York is looking to sweep the four-game season series. Brunson had 32 points in the 122-108 game on Nov. 18 at Charlotte. This will be the Knicks’ only road game in the next two weeks, with a six-game homestand coming up next.

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