Knicks fend off Magic to snap losing streak with 120-113 victory

Knicks fend off Magic to snap losing streak with 120-113 victory

ORLANDO — Emmanuel Mudiay started but Trey Burke closed.

Burke, the former lottery bust turned G-League prospect turned Knicks sparkplug, scored 26 points off the bench as Jeff Hornacek’s team snapped an eight-game losing streak by defeating the hapless Orlando Magic, 120-113.

For those keeping an eye on ping pong balls for the NBA Draft Lottery, the Knicks improved to 24-36 while the Magic fell to 18-40.

Burke, who was promoted from the Westchester Knicks in January, made 12-of-22 shots and played the entire fourth quarter, scoring eight points. He played 30 minutes while rookie Frank Ntilikina also played 30 minutes and scored seven points on 2-for-8 shooting.

The Knicks didn't need much from guys like Courtney Lee, turning to younger talent such as Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke.

The Knicks didn’t need much from guys like Courtney Lee, turning to younger talent such as Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke.

(Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

Mudiay sat all but the final 16.7 of the fourth and finished with eight points, four rebounds and one assist in 23 minutes. Mudiay received his first starting assignment since being acquired from Denver three weeks ago. Jarrett Jack, who had started 56 games, was active but didn’t play.

Courtney Lee remained in the starting lineup but Hornacek played the veteran shooting guard just 14 minutes.

Mudiay caught a bit of a break, matching up against D.J. Augustin, who is a solid veteran but undersized and is better suited for a backup role. The competition for Mudiay will improve significantly over the next two games with the Knicks facing Boston (Kyrie Irving) and Golden State (Stephen Curry) over the next four days.

Enes Kanter contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Enes Kanter contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds.

(Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

The Knicks trailed by as many as 11 but entered the fourth quarter leading 93-90. After giving up 41 first-quarter points, the Knicks limited Orlando to 44 second-half points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 off the bench while Kyle O’Quinn scored 14, and Enes Kanter added 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Knicks recorded 28 assists with just eight turnovers. Evan Fournier led Orlando with 25 points.

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Larry Nance Jr. to wear his dad’s retired No. 22 Cavs jersey

Larry Nance Jr. to wear his dad’s retired No. 22 Cavs jersey

Like father, like son.

Larry Nance Jr. announced Thursday he will be ditching No. 24 in order to wear his father’s retired No. 22 Cavs jersey starting next week.

Larry Nance Jr. will no longer wear No. 24 with the Cavs.

Larry Nance Jr. will no longer wear No. 24 with the Cavs.

(Michael Dwyer/AP)

“I’ll be wearing No. 22 from here on out,” Nance Jr. told reporters prior to the Cavs game against the Wizards Thursday. “My dad’s jersey will get to stay retired in the rafters, so, I couldn’t be happier with it. I think that starts next week, and I’m thrilled. I’ve been wearing 22 my whole life, and to get to wear it for the Cleveland Cavaliers is beyond a dream come true.”

Nance has already changed his Twitter handle to @Larrydn22 to reflect the jersey switch.

Larry Nance Sr. wore No. 22 with the Cavs.

Larry Nance Sr. wore No. 22 with the Cavs.

(CHRIS O’MEARA/AP)

Nance initially chose No. 24 after being dealt to the Cavs in order to “make it easy for everybody.” Nance said he was worried if he donned his father’s number, his jersey would come down from the rafters. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Nance recently paid homage to his father by wearing his No. 22 Phoenix Suns jersey as he recreated his iconic “rock-the-cradle” slam during the dunk contest.

Nance Sr. played for the Cavs from 1988-1994 and was a three-time All-Star with the team.

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Knicks have yet to decide how they’ll proceed with Joakim Noah

Knicks have yet to decide how they’ll proceed with Joakim Noah

ORLANDO — Joakim Noah may never suit up again for the Knicks, but the exiled center will have plenty of desirable options should he negotiate a buyout with the club.

According to league sources, several playoff-bound teams are closely monitoring Noah’s situation in New York and would push to sign him if Noah becomes a free agent.

The Warriors, Timberwolves and Thunder are three such teams that believe Noah, who turns 33 on Sunday, could bolster their respective rosters for the postseason.

Minnesota is an obvious one since it would reunite Noah with his former coach with the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also feel that Noah’s experience and defensive prowess would solidify their respective benches.

Jeff Hornacek doesn’t expect Joakim Noah to return to Knicks

Noah remains in limbo following an altercation with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek last month in Denver. As the Daily News reported in January, the problem began one night earlier in Oakland when Noah played just five minutes, all in the fourth quarter, during a 123-112 loss to the Warriors.

The Knicks coaching staff had informed Noah hours before the game to be prepared to play since both Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O’Quinn were unavailable due to injury. Despite the advance warning, Noah stayed on the bench until 10:09 was left to play.

Joakim Noah may not receive another chance with the Knicks, but other playoff teams are interested in his services.

Joakim Noah may not receive another chance with the Knicks, but other playoff teams are interested in his services.

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

But what really angered the highly competitive and prideful veteran is that Hornacek lifted him with 5:38 remaining. An agitated Noah, who had not complained publicly about his diminished role, then had words with Hornacek as he returned to the bench.

A day later and with emotions still raw, Hornacek, who isn’t about to back down when challenged, had words with Noah during a practice at the Pepsi Center in Denver, resulting in Hornacek pushing Noah and Noah shoving him back. The two were separated and the Knicks ultimately decided to send Noah home.

Jimmy Butler says exiled Knicks center Joakim Noah wants to play

The club’s peculiar public position has been that Noah left the team for “personal reasons.” Noah hasn’t addressed his status publicly since leaving. He has, however, contacted a number of friends in the league and has made it clear that he’s eager to play.

The Knicks clearly have no use for Noah considering that he hasn’t been asked to return to the team despite the season-ending knee injury to Porzingis and the subsequent trade of Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte.

For Noah to gain his freedom this season, the Knicks would either have to release Noah or agree to a buyout. The latter is complicated by Noah being scheduled to earn $54 million through the 2019-20 season.

Last June, former Knicks president Phil Jackson was willing to negotiate a buyout on the final year of Carmelo Anthony’s contract, but Garden Chairman James Dolan refused to sign off on a potential deal. Instead, Dolan fired Jackson and three months later the new team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry traded Anthony to Oklahoma City for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott.

Joakim Noah will remain away from Knicks ‘until further notice’

If Dolan was unwilling to negotiate a buyout with Anthony, it’s hard to see him agreeing to a deal with Noah unless Noah is willing to forfeit a substantial amount of money. From all indications, Noah is reluctant to give the Knicks a discount.

Time is also a factor. Noah would have to be waived by March 1st in order to be eligible for the playoffs.

After a falling out with Jeff Hornacek that led to a shoving match, Joakim Noah doesn't appear likely to receive another opportunity with the Knicks.

After a falling out with Jeff Hornacek that led to a shoving match, Joakim Noah doesn’t appear likely to receive another opportunity with the Knicks.

(Alex Brandon/AP)

The Knicks have gone to great lengths to sweep the incident under the rug, first by calling Noah’s absence “personal reasons” and by refusing to comment on the shoving match, which was first reported by the Daily News.

There may be several reasons why the Knicks have been less than forthcoming. The obvious one is that Mills and Perry are protecting both Hornacek and Noah.

Joakim Noah’s exile from Knicks unlikely to end anytime soon

Also, the new front office, in an attempt to distance themselves from the dysfunctional environment that has existed at the Garden for nearly two decades and was exacerbated under Jackson, want to give the impression that they are in control and that the circus is no longer in town.

So Mills and Perry remain silent on the issue while Noah remains in exile, cashing checks and wondering when he’ll play again.

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Dirk Nowitzki ‘disgusted’ by Mavericks sexual harassment scandal

Dirk Nowitzki ‘disgusted’ by Mavericks sexual harassment scandal

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said he was disgusted and shocked when he heard about allegations of the vile workplace culture that’s festered in the team’s offices.

Following an explosive Sports Illustrated investigation that exposed a “corrosive” atmosphere described as “a picture of a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior,” Nowitzki was floored by the terrible claims against his employers.

“It’s tough,” Nowitzki told reporters. “It’s very disappointing. It’s heartbreaking. I’m glad it’s all coming out. I was disgusted when I read the article, obviously, as everybody was. I was shocked about some of the stuff.”

Former president and CEO Terdema Ussery was accused of sexually harassing multiple employees and Earl Sneed, a former Mavs.com writer, was allegedly involved in multiple domestic assaults while on the job, including one against another team employee.

A MARCH 7, 2017, FILE PHOTO

Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki says he was shocked to read about what was happening within his organization.

(Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Owner Mark Cuban has also expressed shame about what unfolded under his watch and launched an investigation. He also took full ownership of the Snead debacle.

“What I missed – and it was truly a f–k up on my part because I was not there (at the Mavs’ office) — I looked at everything anecdotally,” Cuban told ESPN. “My real f–k up was I didn’t recognize the impact it would have on all the other employees … I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.

“What I missed, again, is I didn’t realize the impact that it would have on the workplace and on the women that worked here, and how it sent a message to them that, if it was OK for Earl to do that, who knows what else is OK in the workplace?” Cuban said. “I missed that completely. I missed it completely.”

Mark Cuban knows he screwed up in the way he handled abuse allegations against a Mavs staffer.

Mark Cuban knows he screwed up in the way he handled abuse allegations against a Mavs staffer.

(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Nowitzki has been with the Mavericks since 1998. While winning the NBA title in 2011 was the team’s proudest moment, what’s coming out this week has got to be its worst.

“So really, really disappointed that our franchise, that my franchise, that stuff like that was going on,” Nowitzki said. “It’s very sad and disappointing … As a franchise, obviously, we feel bad for the victims and for what happened to some of these ladies. Like I said, it’s truly, truly disgusting. Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with some of these victims.”

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'Cleared' Kawhi Leonard unlikely to return this season: report

'Cleared' Kawhi Leonard unlikely to return this season: report

Why, Kawhi?

In a surprising turn of events, All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard has opted to not return to the Spurs’ active roster despite being medically cleared, according to ESPN. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich previously told reporters Wednesday he would be “surprised” if Leonard returned to the team this season.

Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season before returning to appear in nine contests. He has not played since Jan. 13 when the Spurs decided to shut him down indefinitely as he continued to rehab a right quad injury.

Leonard reportedly was the one who suggested he be shut down due to concerns he had regarding his ability to play through the injury. If the 26-year-old forward does return, it will be because he has decided he can manage the pain, according to ESPN.

Kawhi Leonard is choosing not to play despite being medically cleared.

Kawhi Leonard is choosing not to play despite being medically cleared.

(Brandon Dill/AP)

“We only have X number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio on Wednesday, per ESPN. “If by some chance he is, it’s gonna be pretty late into the season and it’s going to be a pretty tough decision; how late to bring somebody back. So that’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”

Leonard is currently away from the Spurs to pursue second opinions on his right quad in New York, according to ESPN.

At the time of the Spurs’ initial statement in mid-January announcing Leonard would be out indefinitely, GM RC Buford expressed an optimistic outlook on Leonard’s chances of returning this season.

Gregg Popovich would be 'surprised' if Kawhi Leonard plays again this season.

Gregg Popovich would be ‘surprised’ if Kawhi Leonard plays again this season.

(Eric Gay/AP)

“Kawhi has made significant progress and continues to move forward in his rehabilitation,” Buford said in a statement. “This is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play.”

Leonard is a two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, as well as the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.

While the Spurs (35-24) currently sit third in the Western Conference, they now face an uphill battle in their attempt for a sixth NBA championship.

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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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