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Frank Ntilikina again first option at point guard off the bench for Knicks

Frank Ntilikina #11 of the New York Knicks

Frank Ntilikina #11 of the New York Knicks scores on a layup past Larry Nance Jr. #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Frank Ntilikina went back to being the Knicks’ first point guard off the bench Sunday against the Lakers after getting a quick hook Friday.

Jeff Hornacek didn’t call on Trey Burke, who closed out Friday’s win at Utah, until the fourth quarter Sunday, and the newly signed guard didn’t have the same impact. The Knicks needed a spark on the defensive end and never got it in a 127-107 loss.

Ntilikina played only 4:55 Friday and had no points, no assists and two turnovers. He made his first three shots Sunday, and finished with seven points and three assists in 17:46. Burke had four points and four assists in seven minutes.

Hornacek continues to say he has “options” at point guard depending on what the Knicks need. He played Ntilikina and Burke together at the start of the fourth quarter when the Lakers went small.

Before Sunday, Ntilikina was scoreless in four of his previous six games and was shooting 34.8 percent from the field, but Hornacek said he has never talked with management about giving him a G League stint.

“We don’t talk about that stuff,” he said. “Frank has been in the rotation all year. So there’s no reason to do that. There’s going to be ups and downs as a rookie . . . They’re going to have a lack of confidence at times when they’re not playing, but I don’t see that in Frank.”

Porzingis frustrated

Kristaps Porzingis, who was in foul trouble in the first half, drew a technical in the fourth quarter for arguing a foul call that wasn’t even assessed against him. Ron Baker was whistled for a foul after slapping the ball away from Jordan Clarkson, and Porzingis became animated. “I reacted in that situation,” he said. “I don’t regret it at all. I thought he just stole the ball and the ref who was in the back, he didn’t really see, he called it.

“I just reacted, and then sometimes when you do that, it has a positive outcome. Things can change a little bit, the game or whatever. And sometimes it doesn’t. I just tried something new.”

Awarding youth coaches

The Knicks and Hospital for Special Surgery have created a “Junior Knicks Coach of the Year” award, recognizing youth coaches in the area who have an extraordinary impact on young people on and off the court. Submissions can be entered online at www.Knicks.com/junior. The deadline is Tuesday.

New York Sports