Andrea Bargnani has “no idea” when he can return to Knicks. Andrea, there’s no rush.

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When Andrea Bargnani tore a ligament in his elbow it was a blessing in disguise for the Knicks (and not that good a disguise, we and everyone else on the planet called it) — Mike Woodson could no longer try to force feed a big lineup that wasn’t working, he had to go small with Carmelo Anthony at the four and guards who could space the floor with their shot.

The Knicks have won four straight. Stunning.

So when is Andrea Bargnani going to be back? He told the New York Post he has he doesn’t know.

“I have no idea [on a return date],’’ Bargnani said. “It’s a ligament broke and you see how it heals and how strong the arm gets. You got to make sure it’s 100 percent. I really don’t know the timeline…

“It’s terrible, just terrible but what can you do,’’ said Bargnani, who was the Knick second-leading scorer at 13.7 points. “Because it’s similar to last year, it’s even more frustrating. It’s terrible sitting out — the worst.’’

Bargnani is not having surgery, the guestimates are he will be out a month but nobody really knows.

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There’s no rush Andrea, take your time.

The scary thing is Woodson sounds like he might experiment with the big lineup again — with Tyson Chandler at the five, Bargnani at the four and ‘Melo at the three — once Bargnani gets back.

“The small lineup, we know that that works,’’ Woodson said. “Hey I don’t know if we’ll go away from it this time….

“I know big lineups and like Bargnani at that spot,’’ Woodson said. “That was the reason to bring him over [from Toronto]. But we haven’t had that chance to have that core group develop some chemistry. We haven’t had a chance to do that.’’

Actually, we have. In the 189 minutes that the Anthony/Bargnani/Chandler trio are on the court together the Knicks are -11.2 points per 100 possessions (if you prefer, they are -8.1 per 48 minutes). The Knicks defense gives up a ridiculous 114.3 points per 100 possessions when those three are paired. And to make it even simpler, when Anthony plays the four by himself the Knicks are 9.5 points per 100 possessions better than when ‘Melo and Bargnani are paired.

Bargnani, don’t rush back. Woodson, when he is back, stick with the small lineup that works. Thanks for listening.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

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Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

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