Mitchell Robinson has been working on staying out of foul trouble by harping on his technique.
“Having my hands up, sliding more,” he said.
And then there’s the other factor that has been helping the Knicks’ 7-foot center avoid whistles.
“It’s actually, like, nobody wants to get yelled at by the coaches, so I’ve been just trying to maintain that the best way that I can,” Robinson said with a chuckle. “I’ve been working on it.”
With the Knicks short on big men in Monday’s 113-108 win over the Hawks, after Nerlens Noel was a late scratch with a sprained ankle, Robinson steered clear of foul trouble to finish with eight points, seven rebounds, four steals, two blocks and only three fouls.
Robinson is fouling less this season even while taking on more minutes as a starter. He averaged 3.2 fouls in 23.1 minutes per game last season, fouling out seven times and picking up five fouls eight more times. He entered Wednesday’s game against the Jazz averaging 3.1 fouls in 27.9 minutes per game, which has helped to keep him on the floor while he has played a key role in the Knicks winning four of their last five games. The 22-year-old’s defense has been stout while coach Tom Thibodeau recently said Robinson’s offense “is coming.”
After a demanding four-game road trip, the Knicks are set to get some healthy bodies back upon their return to the Garden. Point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (contused left quad) and forward Omari Spellman (sore right knee) are listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Jazz. Smith has played just one game this season while Spellman has yet to make his Knicks debut.
Alec Burks (sprained left ankle), who missed the four-game road trip, is questionable to face his former team, as is Noel (sprained left ankle). Frank Ntilikina (sprained right knee) and rookie Obi Toppin (strained right calf) will remain out.