After coming off the bench in three games this season, Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina got his first start of the season on Friday night on the road against the Boston Celtics.
Playing 37 minutes against the Celtics, the No. 8 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and recorded three rebounds, three steals, two assists, one block and one turnover in the team's 104-102 loss.
Head coach David Fizdale said before the game that he thought Ntilikina gave the team a good chance, going up against Celtics' star point guard Kemba Walker.
Ntilikina used his size and defensive skill set throughout the game, including a chase down block of Celtics guard Marcus Smart in the first quarter. He had a tough matchup with Walker -- who scored a game-high 33 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
He also showed his ability to hit big shots, going 2-for-4 from three -- which impressed teammate RJ Barrett.
"Big time. Big time night, knocked down some huge shots for us," Barrett said. "Played Kemba hard all game long. It's great to have somebody like that on your team."
Despite the loss, Ntilikina was optimistic and says the team still challenged a good Celtics team.
"Had a playoff team that we played and we were right there," Ntilikina said. "Of course we're not happy with losses, but we're taking it the right way. Watch a lot of film, see what we can do better, and go back to the gym the next day and work on it. It's gonna come, we gotta keep grinding and it's gonna come."
After the game, Fizdale talked about what he saw from Ntilikina against the Celtics.
"Confidence. Playing free and not worrying about anything," Fizdale said. "He's doing the job that I'm asking him to do and I'm really proud of the way he's going about it."
Frank Ntilikina says that while the team obviously wants to win, they're taking the losses the right way:- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) November 2, 2019
"Had a playoff team that we played and we were right there...Of course we're not happy with losses...It's gonna come, we gotta keep grinding and it's gonna come" pic.twitter.com/U6VFSZtqAA