New York Knicks center Enes Kanter has missed the past three games due to back spasms.
The New York Knicks have lost each of their last three games.
Coincidence? Maybe not.
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Without their center that came over in the Carmelo Anthony trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Knicks have struggled despite the 25-year-old's efforts to keep the team motivated.
During Monday night's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Kanter tried to rally the troops by providing a spark and footing the bill, via Ian Begley of ESPN New York:
"I'm not going to tell who, but I told somebody, 'Hey man, go out there and fight with somebody. It will get the energy up.' No, I'm serious. I fyou go out there and just hit somebody or just fight with somebody, get a technical foul, I will pay for the fine, I don't care. Just go out there and do your thing. Because we need that energy, we need that fight. It doesn't matter if we're down by 25, a fight, get a technical foul, the crowd is in it, and [Portland is] going to get nervous."
While Michael Beasley and Frank Ntilikina mixed it up with Jusuf Nurkic, their technical fouls actually stymied New York's comeback that featured a 14-1 run.
Regardless, that's the kind of fire Kanter has brought to New York and what the team has been missing over the last three games.
Averaging 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, Kanter ranks fifth in the NBA in offensive rebounding, 13th in total rebounds and 25th in player efficiency.
Here is what New York's offense looked like during the first 17 games of the season when it had Kanter:
104.9 points per game
45.1 total rebounds
11.4 offensive rebounds
+1.5 point differential
And since he was forced to the bench with those back spasms?
99.9 points per game
43.0 total rebounds
8.3 offensive rebounds
-13.0 point differential