Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Landry, Zeller

The emergence of rookie Kristaps Porzingis clouds the future of Knicks offseason signee Robin Lopez, surmises Marc Berman of the New York Post, who earlier reported that the team is thinking about taking Lopez out of the starting five. He’s played 20 minutes or fewer in seven of his last nine games, though he’s shown hints of more efficient play and says he’s beginning to get a handle on the triangle offense, as Berman relays.

“I’m starting to see the opportunities,’’ Lopez said. “I’m starting to see when I’m supposed to look for me — on the block. When I’m supposed look for the pick and roll, where the cuts are going to be. I know it will get better. I’m getting a better idea of what I’m supposed to do offensively.’’

See more on the Knicks and the rest of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Cavs are in first place in the Eastern Conference with J.R. Smith and a now-healthy Iman Shumpert, but the Knicks have seen strong play from Lance Thomas, and coach Derek Fisher doesn’t regret New York’s participation in last January’s three-way trade with Cleveland and Oklahoma City. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News has the details. “Seems like both for J.R. and Shump it’s worked out well. They seem happy,” Fisher said Tuesday. “We like our team as it is at this point.”
  • Sixers offseason trade acquisition Carl Landry, the only player on the team older than 25, made his season debut Wednesday after a wrist injury cost him the first two months of the season, and he’s embracing a leadership role, observes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News. The team has been in the market for additional veteran influences of late.
  • Tyler Zeller was an extension candidate this past summer, but the Celtics were reportedly interested in a deal only if it would come at a discount to them, and that hesitancy seems wise now that the center is averaging only 8.5 minutes a game. Still, the soon-to-be free agent posted a season-high 14 points Monday, and his lack of complaints about fluctuating minutes reveals a value, coach Brad Stevens contends, as A. Sherrod Blakely of notes. The Celtics organization is “even more endeared” to Zeller because of the way he’s handled the situation, Stevens said, according to Blakely.
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