The mind is a terrible thing to use.
At least when you should be reacting. Just ask Knicks rookie center Willy Hernangomez.
With Joakim Noah expected to miss an eighth straight game with a sore left hamstring Monday when the Raptors invade the Garden, Hernangomez likely will get another start. He has done well, starting the last four games, averaging 27.9 minutes, 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 58.6 percent.
And much of the success comes from doing, not thinking.
“Sometimes, I think too much,” the 22-year-old said. “So I need to let my body just play. Let my mind play. I think too much, like if I miss a shot.”
So Hernangomez latched onto some advice from Carmelo Anthony.
“Melo told me, ‘Just shoot. If you miss, you miss, if you make you make. But that’s basketball.’ So some days in the beginning I feel pressure if I miss or make a mistake. But I have to still just play basketball and enjoy it,” Hernangomez said.
With enjoyment has come another factor: confidence.
“I’m way different now than from the start of the season. I got the confidence in myself, I can do way more things,” Hernangomez said, pointing specifically to his mid-range shot. “I’m still working on everything and improving every day on different things. I can feel the confidence.”
While Noah is expected out, Kristaps Porzingis could return after missing Saturday’s 110-109 victory over the Sixers with a sprained ankle. But don’t go loading him into your fantasy team’s starting lineup just yet. Porzingis on Sunday was officially listed as “questionable” to play.
On Jan. 11 in Philadelphia, the Knicks, who led by as many as 17 in the game, still held a 10-point lead with 2:19 remaining over the Sixers. They lost.
Saturday at the Garden, the Knicks, who led by as many as 17, still had a 12-point lead with 4:46 remaining over the Sixers. This time, though, they won. With all of three-tenths of a second to spare.
After Jahlil Okafor put the Sixers up one at nine seconds, Anthony delivered salvation for the Knicks with an 11-footer over Robert Covington for a 110-109 triumph.
“It came down to me making that shot when it shouldn’t have come down to that,” Anthony said.
But it did and Anthony put the frosting on his 37-point game, his 15th total of 30 or more points this season and the 38th time he led the Knicks (24-35) in scoring. Anthony now has scored 20 or more points seven games in a row, averaging 28.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting .520 (77-of-148) in those seven games.
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