Knicks Practice Notes: A 27-Game Season

Howard Megdal

GREENBURGH, NY — The All-Star break doesn't truly divide the season in half. It's really more of a home stretch, as Knicks coach Mike Miller reminded his team prior to practice on Thursday.

"We've got a 27-game season," Miller told reporters following practice. "It's basically 56 days. We kind of broke it down for them that way. Where do we want to be? How do we want to feel at the end of that? That's what we talk about each game. Let's feel good about ourselves when we get done."

Mike Miller talks after Knicks practice, February 20, 2020, part 1

A pair of Knicks are feeling less than optimal, however, with both Elfrid Payton and Wayne Ellington questionable for Friday night's game against Indiana with ankle injuries. Miller didn't think either one was serious.

"Wayne kind of tweaked his yesterday," Miller said. "Precautionary. And Elfrid was just a little bit sore today. But I think it's just making sure that it doesn't turn into anything."

With potentially two missing backcourt players, I asked Miller whether that meant more time for two guards who have struggled to get time in the rotation, especially of late, in Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson.

"We've got confidence in all the guys," Miller said. "The guys you mentioned in particular have had — when they've had good opportunities, gotten into the flow, they've done well. So as we go through it, we have a lot of guys we feel good about. We've got to figure out how to put those guys in the best positions in the given game."

Miller stressed that it'll be based on matchups. But he didn't expressly commit to playing either of them down the stretch of the season, either. If not, it leaves precious little time for the pair of restricted free agents to make their cases on the court to the Knicks or any other NBA team.