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Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has fond memories of his time in Phoenix

Jeff Hornacek of the Suns moves the ball

Jeff Hornacek of the Suns moves the ball during a game during the 1988-89 NBA season. Credit: Allsport / Stephen Dunn

PHOENIX — Jeff Hornacek played for the Suns for the first six seasons of his NBA career and coached in Phoenix for three seasons before coming to the Knicks.

As the Knicks wrapped up a difficult road trip, he got to take a trip of a different kind: the one down memory lane.

“Every time you come back to Phoenix and play, you think back to playing days,” Hornacek said Friday night. “That’s where it all started for me as a rookie. I was here for six years of playing. It went from a team that won 25 games to a team that won 55 four straight years. That turnaround always is special. Lot of playoff wins. We never got to the Finals when I was here but had some big wins over the Lakers in the playoffs, stuff like that.”

Hornacek was 101-112 in three seasons as the Suns’ coach. Entering Friday night, he was 52-79 in two seasons with the Knicks.

Hardaway, O’Quinn back

Tim Hardaway Jr. returned to the lineup after sitting out Thursday night’s loss in Denver as the Knicks restrict his appearances after a 20-game absence because of a stress injury in his lower left leg. Hornacek said there are no minutes limits for him in the games in which he does play.

Kyle O’Quinn was available after missing two games with a strained calf, which promised to cut into third-string center Willy Hernangomez’s minutes. Entering Friday, he had played in three straight games for the first time since November.

With the Feb. 8 trade deadline approaching, the Knicks may be looking to deal one of their four centers. O’Quinn and Hernangomez have drawn interest.

Joakim Noah was away from the team for undisclosed “personal reasons” for the second straight game. The Knicks have not said if they expect him back before Tuesday’s game vs. the Nets.

New York Sports