Knicks Notes: Burks, Walker, Dinwiddie, Randle

Playing with a depleted roster, the Knicks got a huge lift from Alec Burks in Saturday’s win over Atlanta, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Making his first start of the season, the veteran swingman delivered 23 points as New York ended the Hawks’ seven-game winning streak.

Burks was called into service at point guard with Derrick Rose injured and Kemba Walker resting on the second night of a back-to-back. It was the latest in a series of strong performances for Burks, and Berman suggests that he may become a regular part of the starting lineup.

“We’re a great team and we have a lot of depth, so I believe I can step up at any time,’’ Burks said. “It was just my night tonight. … It’s the way we play. Anyone can handle the ball at any time. That’s (coach Tom Thibodeau’s) offense.’’

There’s more from New York:

  • Walker remains the Knicks’ starter at point guard, but he has rarely been playing in the fourth quarter, Berman notes in a separate story. Walker’s arthritic left knee is limiting him to 24.5 minutes per night, and Thibodeau is turning to Rose to finish games. As a result, Walker is averaging a career-low 11.7 points per game and the team is routinely getting outscored when he is on the court.
  • Some members of the organization wanted to make a play for Spencer Dinwiddie in free agency, Berman adds, but the team opted to sign Evan Fournier, then reached an agreement with Walker after his buyout with the Thunder. “They had to make a splash,’’ an unidentified team executive told Berman about the decision to add Walker, a New York City native.
  • The Knicks won’t be able to make a serious playoff run without a greater contribution from Julius Randle, states Ian O’Connor of The New York Post. Randle earned Most Improved Player honors last year while leading New York to the fourth seed, but he hasn’t been the same player since the postseason. He shot just 3-of-14 Saturday night, and his scoring and shooting percentages have declined significantly.
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