The Knicks hope to have one of their top scorers back as they try to avoid their first 1-9 start in a matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
New York lost its fifth straight Wednesday night, 114-101 to Atlanta to give it eight losses in its first nine games for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The Knicks, in their 64th season, have never dropped nine of the first 10.
Coach Mike D’Antoni has been running his up-tempo offense without Robinson, who averaged a career-high 17.2 points and 4.1 assists for the Knicks last season. A sprained right ankle has kept the fifth-year guard from playing the past six games, but he may be healthy enough to return Friday.
Robinson’s energy is desperately needed for a Knicks team that is averaging 99.8 points after scoring 105.2 per game last season.
New York’s backcourt has mostly struggled without Robinson, but is starting to get some promising play from Toney Douglas(notes). The 29th pick in this year’s draft, Douglas averaged 20.0 points while making 9 of 18 shots from 3-point range over his last three games.
Douglas made his first career start versus the Hawks and scored 23 points. His backcourt mate, Chris Duhon(notes), had another terrible performance, going 0 for 6 with two assists and three turnovers.
“Obviously he’s going to have to play better and hopefully he’ll do it,” D’Antoni said.
Hughes had 14 points and eight assists Wednesday after starting the previous five games.
“You always want to know when you’re going in and what’s your rotation and things like that,” said the veteran swingman, averaging 14.6 points for his career. “Once you hit the court, you kind of have to get in where you fit in really and go out and make positive plays, give positive energy.”
Hughes spent part of 1999-00 and the following two seasons with the Warriors (2-5). Golden State had a winning percentage below .300 in each of those seasons.
The Warriors have regressed since posting winning seasons in 2006-07 and ’07-’08, going 29-53 last season. They are averaging 108.3 points in 2009-10, but allowing 112.4.
All seven Golden State opponents have scored at least 105 points. The Warriors, meanwhile, failed to reach 100 for the second time this season Wednesday night, losing 108-94 to Indiana.
“We just have to get better,” Nelson said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board.”
Nelson said a sore back kept Stephen Jackson(notes) on the bench for the entire fourth quarter versus the Pacers, but the swingman denied he was hurt. Jackson, averaging 15.0 points, was held to seven and made three of 10 shots.
“Regardless of where I’m at, I want to play,” he said. “I have no control over that. I want to play. Regardless of if I’m in Africa, wherever, I want to play.”
New York and Golden State each won once at home in last season’s series. Both teams averaged more than 132 points even though neither contest went into overtime.