Ntilikina, Mudiay and Burke may all get chance to guard Irving

Ntilikina, Mudiay and Burke may all get chance to guard Irving

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said he has been encouraged by his three guards recently, but now the trio faces a tall task.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina and even Trey Burke, who scored 26 points off the bench in Thursday’s 120-113 win over the Magic, will be going up against Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry with the Celtics scheduled for Saturday and Warriors on Monday.

Hornacek was open to the idea of giving all three a chance to guard Irving at some point in Saturday’s game at Madison Square Garden.

“Possible,” he said at Friday’s practice. “Let’s see how they’re handling, how the guards out there who are guarding them are handling him. And it’s not just, ‘hey that guy’s got to guard Kyrie.’ You’ve got to have a team defense that’s there to back him up when Kyrie gets around. So again, they’ll probably all end up with a shot at him at some point.”

The Knicks, 24-36 and 11th in the Eastern Conference, have shifted their focus on developing their younger players in recent games and how their guards, particularly Mudiay and Ntilikina, play down the stretch will be important in determining their future roles with the team.

Mudiay, who was acquired in a three-way trade on Feb. 8, started his first game with the Knicks Thursday night and finished with eight points, four assists and five rebounds in 23 minutes.

Meanwhile, Ntilikina and Burke each played 30 minutes off the bench and played most of the fourth quarter in the win over the Magic.

“I think they all did well,” Hornacek said. “Emmanuel made some great passes that we probably haven’t (made) … The last couple days I felt pretty comfortable having Trey and Frank in there together so I like what I saw from those three guys.”

The combination of Burke and Ntilikina also meant moving Ntilikina, the 19-year-old rookie, over as a two-guard, a position he is less familiar with.

Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina blocks a shot by Magic guard Mario Hezonja.

Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina blocks a shot by Magic guard Mario Hezonja.

(Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

“I think it’s challenging but exciting because it’s always fun,” Ntilikina said. “You try new things you try new stuff to compete and try to get some wins.”

It was just the third time Ntilikina logged 30 minutes this season, who is battling a sore knee, but the rookie said he felt fine on Friday.

Hornacek was particularly impressed with the chemistry Ntilikina and Burke, who was called up from Westchester in January, had together off the bench and appeared to like the idea of keeping them together.

“They can run different things,” Hornacek said. “Trey is very good in pick and rolls and Frank was able to get on the weak side and do that so the focus isn’t all on him. Trey comes off and swings it to Frank and set a pick and roll there, so there is not as much focus and allows Frank to do a few things.”

The Knicks have 22 games remaining on their schedule and one of Hornacek’s biggest challenges will be managing the minutes Mudiay, Ntilikina — both top 10 first-round draft picks — and Burke, a former first-round bust, receive during the final stretch of the season.

“These three guys,” Hornacek said. “If they approach it as ‘hey, let’s all make each other better and not worry about that stuff’ then it will work out for all of them.”

NOTES

The Knicks will call up forward Isaiah Hicks for Saturday’s game vs. Boston while forward Luke Kornet will head back down to Westchester.

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Knicks’ Kyle O’Quinn named in bombshell Yahoo NCAA report

Knicks’ Kyle O’Quinn named in bombshell Yahoo NCAA report

Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn found himself caught in the middle of an NCAA scandal on Friday.

O’Quinn was one of more than 25 players whose name appeared in documents and bank statements obtained by the FBI and released by Yahoo! Sports of players who accepted some form of payment from ASM Sports agency while in college.

Records from sports agency show that Kyle O'Quinn received some type of 'loan' while at Norfolk State.

Records from sports agency show that Kyle O’Quinn received some type of ‘loan’ while at Norfolk State.

(Eric Francis/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old Knicks center, who played and graduated from Norfolk State, received a so-called “loan” of $1,887.06 according to an ASM Sports balance sheet published by Yahoo.

The acceptance of such payments is against NCAA amateurism rules and would mean O’Quinn would have been ineligible to play.

FBI docs show top NCAA hoops programs, players involved in probe

Not Released (NR)

Sports scandals throughout history

O’Quinn was part of the 2011-12 Norfolk State team which upset No. 2 seed Missouri as a 15-seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The scandal includes at least 20 Division I basketball programs involving both current and former players while three criminal cases are also tied to the investigation.

Kyle O'Quinn is among more than 25 players listed in having been given money in violation of NCAA rules.

Kyle O’Quinn is among more than 25 players listed in having been given money in violation of NCAA rules.

(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The FBI has been investigating bribery and corruption in college basketball for at least two years and several NCAA assistant coaches and sneaker executives have already been arrested and charged.

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new york knicks
kyle o’quinn
college basketball
fbi
norfolk state spartans

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Derek Jeter says Marlins to be part of Florida’s healing process

Derek Jeter says Marlins to be part of Florida’s healing process

Derek Jeter says the Miami Marlins will “do their part” in helping Florida heal after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, according to TMZ.

Jeter, who became CEO and part-owner of the Marlins in September, was speaking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Fort Lauderdale when he was asked for advice on how to cope with the tragic event which killed 17 by TV producer and 1999 Stoneman Douglas graduate Evan Golden.

Golden mentioned the role Jeter and the Yankees played in New York City following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which Jeter said helped pull the city together.

“We knew, playing in New York, that we couldn’t change the events that occurred,” he said. “All we could possibly do is give fans the opportunity — we looked at it as we were distracting the fans three hours a day. It was great to see how the community rallied around us.”

The Marlins are far from the type of team that the 2001 Yankees were, and Jeter did not provide any specifics into how they would factor into the healing process, but expressed optimism for the future of the Florida community.

Like the Yankees did for New York, Derek Jeter says the Marlins will help Florida heal following the shooting in Parkland.

Like the Yankees did for New York, Derek Jeter says the Marlins will help Florida heal following the shooting in Parkland.

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

“Those horrific events that happened last week, nothing will change that,” Jeter added. “We can learn from it and hopefully over time we can find something to cheer for, something to distract from what actually occurred. Post Sept. 11 we were able to do that as a baseball organization.”

Following Jeter’s comments, a man blurted out, “Hopefully the Marlins do the same.”

“Thank you very much,” Jeter replied. “We will do our part.”

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Miami Heat to honor Florida HS shooting victims with patches

Miami Heat to honor Florida HS shooting victims with patches

The Miami Heat will be following the lead of several other sports teams in honoring the victims of last week’s tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which killed 14 students and three faculty members.

The Heat, who play just 50 miles away from the high school, plan to wear patches on their jerseys for the victims for the remainder of the season starting on Friday against the Pelicans, per WPLG10 in Miami. The design of the patch is still being worked on.

The decision follows the steps of the Heat’s hockey neighbors, the Florida Panthers, who wore patches with the initials “MSD” on their jerseys and had a helmet decal with the Stoneman Douglas logo and the high school’s mascot over the weekend against the Calgary Flames.

The Panthers play their first home game since the Feb. 14 shooting on Thursday and plan to hold a blood drive at their home arena, the BB&T Center, between noon and 7 p.m. in honor of the victims and survivors.

A makeshift memorial is seen outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

A makeshift memorial is seen outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

(Gerald Herbert/AP)

The Miami Dolphins donated $100,000 to a GoFundMe account set up by the Broward Education Foundation for the victims’ families. The account is up to $1.8 million as of Wednesday afternoon.

Major League Baseball will also honor the victims by having all 30 teams wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas hats before spring training games this weekend.

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MLB thinking about letting trailing team bat any player in 9th

MLB thinking about letting trailing team bat any player in 9th

Forget about pace of play rules in baseball, how about adding more excitement?

Apparently the MLB is kicking around ideas to completely change the way the ninth inning is played.

Rich Eisen, on his radio show Wednesday, said an MLB executive told him of an idea about allowing the manager of the trailing team to bat whomever he chooses in the ninth inning in an effort to ramp up more excitement.

“Baseball is the only sport by mere randomness and happenstance, the best players are not out on the field with the game on the line,” Eisen said. “Potentially down by two, ninth inning, you got 7-8-9 up. You can pinch-hit but sometimes your best hitters are not coming off the bench. In the ninth inning, the ninth inning only. Not eighth inning, not the seventh, not extras — ninth inning only, you are allowed to send up to the plate as your first three hitters whoever you want. … If 3-4-5 hitter goes out in order in the eighth inning, ninth inning the manager sends 3-4-5 right back out there.”

Eisen prefaced the idea by saying this rule is being “whispered” and that he does not know how close it is to being realistic. He also added that there are other wrinkles that would need to be ironed out in order to implement this rule, such as where things would pick up should the game go into extra innings.

It also seems to penalize the team with the lead for simply having a lead.

SEPT. 10, 20O17, FILE PHOTO

What’s the point of having Aaron Judge in the dugout in the 9th inning asks one MLB exec.

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

One of Eisen’s producers pointed that out and used the argument that if the other team has a no-hitter or perfect game going you are “penalized for having such a great performance through eight innings by having to get out the 1-2-3 or 2-3-4 or whatever. That’s preposterous.”

Eisen said the crux of the argument is to get the best players on the field with the game on the line and read a message off his phone from an MLB executive.

“Best argument is that no other sport has its best players sitting on the bench in the final minutes of the game,” he said. “Imagine LeBron, Tom Brady, or Sidney Crosby or Ronaldo watching on the sideline.”

Most of MLB’s focus has been on trying to make the game faster by changing rules for pace of play.

Last year they eliminated throwing the four pitches for an intentional walk and earlier this week added a limit to the amount of mound visits permitted throughout the game as well as cutting down the time between innings and pitching changes.

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