News – USA – Frank Ntilikina looks surprisingly “fantastic” returning to the Knicks lineup

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Tom Thibodeau had an opening in his 10-man rotation, with starting point guard Elfrid Payton missing his first game of the season with an Achilles tendon injury Thursday against the Kings

Instead of returning to Austin Rivers, Thibodeau threw a surprise and tipped the vicious French point guard, whose only luck this season was bad luck

On his first appearance since December 29, Ntilikina didn’t look rusty at all, had three steals, scored seven points, and was a plus-17 in 23:35 minutes when the Knicks smashed Kings 140-121 in the dizzying garden / p>

Ntilikina sounded like he’d been trapped in a hotel room for a week.In fact, in Miami, he followed COVID-19 contact tracing protocols, with a sprained knee that cost him three weeks

“It was a long stretch,” said the longest reigning Knick and his 2017 lottery. “There was so much luck and motivation to do more’ ’

With a red “Vale” hat his relief was palpable. Ntilikina will be a restricted free agent and his future is unclear

“If you come back from a long distance with [Thibodeau] I’ll be more comfortable on the pitch,” said Ntilikina. “I was so happy to be on the pitch and to keep up with my teammates. I was very happy and had a lot of energy I definitely felt good ”

In his climax game, Ntilikina De’Aaron Fox pulled out, took a quick break and whipped a pass for a 3-pointer to Immanuel Quickley, depending on Payton’s status, the Ntilikina-Quickley tandem could now be a thing

Rivers was the only player who didn’t play on Thursday – not even in garbage time, and he expects to be traded

“It was matchups,” Thibodeau said, “I wanted to take a look at Frank We have great confidence in everyone on the roster It was Frank’s opportunity, he went in and took advantage of it and played well. He was fantastic ”

The only downside of the evening was the clear evidence that rookie Tyrese Haliburton will transform into a special point guard

The Knicks had the chance to draft Haliburton with the No. 8 pick in November, but passed it on for Obi Toppin

“He was great for her,” said Thibodeau. “Very talented, gifted. Plays multiple positions, can shoot the ball. Good size Can get into color. He’s had a very good season for her’ ’

After scoring 16 points against the Knicks in January, Haliburton scored 17 points on Thursday with four assists, four steals and four rebounds. Toppin was mostly a non-factor in 17 minutes, apart from a late ski fast break -Dunk He finished with three dots

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News – USA – Frank Ntilikina looks surprisingly “fantastic” returning to the Knicks lineup
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Source: https://nypost.com/2021/02/26/frank-ntilikina-looks-fantastic-in-surprise-return-to-knicks-lineup/