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Division-Leading Westchester Knicks Off To Hot Early Season Start

It’s been quite the month for the Westchester Knicks. It’s been a month of streaks, close games, and players being assigned to the G League. The Dub Knicks started off the season on the road by playing their opener against the Windy City Bulls. In the first month, the team finished with an 9-4 record and are in first place in the Atlantic Division.

On opening night, Westchester was fueled by a near triple-double from Xavier Rathan-Mayes. In game two, the Dub Knicks edged out a close win over the Delaware 87ers, with Trey Burke scoring a franchise record 43 points.

For a young team, three road victories were huge. The Knicks have a young starting rotation that worked on building chemistry. In each one of their road games, Westchester showed that any player could step up to lead the group offensively.

Westchester had an unfortunate series in their following three games. In their home opener against the Grand Rapids Drive, Landry Nnoko hit a last second shot to give the Drive their fourth win in a row. In their following game, the Knicks fell short again at the hands of the Raptors 905. With less than seven seconds left in the final quarter, Davion Berry drained a corner three to give the 905 the victory. The Knicks lost another one possession game to the Raptors 905. Westchester then owned a 3-3 record.

In the following four games, the minor league club turned the tide and won six of their next seven games. The team picked up their second win over Windy City. In two meetings, Westchester has won both games by a combined 21 points. In a road game in Fort Wayne, the Knicks had a hard fought battle against the Mad Ants, who sit at No. 1 in the Central Division.

After losing their only game in the past seven outings, the Dub Knicks avenged their matinee loss to the Maine Red Claws by defeating them on Dec. 4 with a strong balanced performance by the squad.

Before the season started, Westchester VP of Player Development Craig Robinson stated the role of the G League affiliate was to give the New York Knicks an opportunity to develop players, while giving the current New York players a chance to get a run in Westchester.

“We want to develop guys who are good enough to move over to the big Knicks,” Robinson said. “But we also want to be an organization that helps the current Knicks when they need some players to come over and get some run on either in a rehabilitation standpoint or if they’re not playing much over here, they can come over and get some run with us over there.”

In the past couple of seasons, the New York Knicks have sent rookies to Westchester to get addition playing time. It was no surprise Damyean Dotson spent time with the Dub Knicks. He played 35-plus minutes in four outings and was able to get in a rhythm and find his groove with the team. With Tim Hardaway Jr out for at least two weeks, Dotson will get an opportunity to show what he can do.

As Robinson mentioned, the team can serve as a platform for players to come in to rehab an injury. Joakim Noah hasn’t played much since February due to a knee injury and a suspension. Noah played in one game against the Maine Red Claws , in which he recorded nine points, five rebounds, and four assists in 23 minutes of action.

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek spoke on what lead to Noah playing in the G League.

“He was talking to Craig Robinson four days ago and Jo said, ‘I don’t mind, I’ll get some time and contact,’ Hornacek told the New York Post.  “I was happy Jo did that. He’s kind of set the tone you can go there and give yourself an experience playing with those guys.”

Ron Baker has recently been dealing with a shoulder injury, which has kept him out of action. In a rehab standpoint, Baker has been able to get a run with the Dub Knicks and has made the most of his time in the G League as he looks to get back into the rotation in New York.

The Westchester Knicks have a balanced month ahead of them. In December, the Knicks have 12 games left with six on the road and six at the Westchester County Center. The team will have a tough test during the week of Dec. 10, as they embark on a four-game west coast trip. The Dub Knicks start their skid against the Northern Arizona Suns then will travel to Nevada to take on the Reno Bighorns. The Dub Knicks conclude their road trip in California when they face two of the top teams in the Pacific Division, the South Bay Lakers and Santa Cruz Warriors.

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