Enes Kanter Calls Usage with Knicks 'Weird' After Sitting 4th Quarter vs. Bulls

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2018

New York Knicks' Enes Kanter reacts to a call by the referee during the second half of the NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in New York. The 76ers defeated the Knicks 105-98. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter had no explanation Wednesday for why he hasn't been used in the fourth quarter over the past several games. 

Kanter went five straight games without playing in the fourth quarter and then played just four minutes in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's 122-119 loss to the Chicago Bulls. He also sat both overtime periods.

Regarding head coach Jeff Hornacek's decision, Kanter told Marc Berman of the New York Post: "I don't know why. What'd he say? I have no idea why. I guess it's a little weird. I have no idea. I look at the coach. He looks at me. OK? I'll sit on the bench."

Hornacek's explanation was that backup center Kyle O'Quinn's defensive excellence has earned him additional playing time late in games.

He also said Kanter and O'Quinn have different skill sets that dictate them playing at different times.

Regardless of Hornacek's reasoning, Kanter said he hasn't had a conversation about the situation with his coach: "He did not [talk to me]. I'm ready [to play in the fourth]. It's a little weird to me, too. I guess he's trying to make everybody happy. That's what he's doing. The most important thing is if we're winning or not. If we're winning, we're good. If we're losing, there's a problem." 

Despite his recent fourth-quarter absences, Kanter's first season in the Big Apple has been a productive one.

Since the Knicks acquired him in an offseason deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder involving Carmelo Anthony, Kanter is averaging 13.4 points and a career-high 10.1 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game.

New York was one of the NBA's biggest surprises earlier in the season, but it has hit the skids as of late.

The Knicks are 10th in the Eastern Conference at 19-22, and they are 2-8 over their past 10 games.

In the five games during which Kanter didn't play at all in the fourth quarter, the Knicks went 2-3.

Even in the midst of a slump, the Knicks trail the Indiana Pacers by just two games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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