Ntilikina earns more minutes, but won’t start for Knicks … yet

Jeff Hornacek is not yet ready to start Frank Ntilikina. But that time is coming.

With the Knicks struggling in all facets during their four-game losing streak before Saturday, the coach said he’s increasing Ntilikina’s minutes while “looking at” moving him into the lineup.

“But for now, no,” Hornacek said, adding that there is no timeline for a change. “We’ll just keep looking at it and try to see.”

Frank Ntilikina isn't starting games for the Knicks, but he is finishing them.

Frank Ntilikina isn’t starting games for the Knicks, but he is finishing them.

(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

Ntilikina was coming off one of his best performances in the NBA, notching a career-high 11 assists Thursday in the 119-107 loss to the Spurs. Even though he is the backup behind Jarrett Jack, Ntilikina is often closing games and was averaging more minutes in the fourth quarter (7.8) than any other period.

Still, his offensive deficiencies have been clear for a player shooting just 36 percent before Saturday with a 3.5/1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. Both an NBA scout and executive told the Daily News they the 19-year-old is better suited as an off-guard operating without the ball.

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The referees may have listened to Kristaps Porzingis’ complaints.

Two days after he expressed concerns about not getting enough fouls on his jumpers, Porzingis said he got more favorable whistles in New Orleans.

“I got most of the calls,” said Porzingis, who scored 30 points with eight free-throw attempts. “Not all of them, but most of them that were a little contact on the elbow that can affect my shot. I actually did (Saturday) and that’s a good thing.”

Earlier Saturday after shootaround, Porzingis reiterated his frustrations about officials ignoring the contact on his arm during his shooting release. He nearly picked up a technical foul Thursday in San Antonio, but kept his composure.

“The only thing is I’m getting upset and I don’t want to be the guy who is yelling at the refs,” Porzingis said. “But especially in these games that we want to win and we need to win so bad when all those little details matter and you felt that could’ve been a call and that affects the game so much that my emotions get involved.”

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Source: Ny Daily News

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