Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ntilikina Helps the Knicks Win Big in Big D

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ntilikina Helps the Knicks Win Big in Big D

Article excerpt

DALLAS – For however long he plays, Frank Ntilikina is going to be compared to Dennis Smith Jr.

The Knicks drafted Ntilikina with the eighth overall pick in 2017, coveting the lanky French guard's wingspan and defensive ability.

With the ninth pick that same draft, the Mavericks took Dennis Smith Jr. out of North Carolina State.

They're different types of point guards. Ntilikina's contributions don't always show up in the box score while Smith routinely posts double-figure scoring performances.

Those differences were on display Friday night.

Smith scored 23 points with no assists while Ntilikina only had seven points but dished out seven assists as the Knicks beat the Mavericks, 118-106, at American Airlines Center.

The Knicks trailed by three points at halftime but outscored Dallas, 33-18, in the third quarter to take control of the game. The period included a reverse dunk from Mitchell Robinson, who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"Definitely now I feel like I'm very comfortable," Robinson said. "It ain't really nothign else to it. Just go out there and work hard."

Ntilikina, who had three steals, didn't need to provide much scoring Friday night, anyway.

The Knicks had seven players finish in double figures, led by Allonzo Trier's 23 points. The undrafted rookie was 8-of-10 from the field.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 18 points while Damyean Dotson and Mario Hezonja had 11 points each. Lance Thomas finished with 10.

Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic had 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The Knicks held DeAndre Jordan to just four points, but he grabbed 10 rebounds.

Ntilikina and Smith, who had six turnovers and four fouls Friday, aren't only going to be compared to each other, but also to Utah Jazz star point guard Donovan Mitchell, last season's Rookie of the Year, and the Sacramento Kings' DeAaron Fox, who posted 31 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in a win over the Hawks Thursday night. …

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