Kevin Durant likes his drive to games at Oracle, especially after he makes his way down the hill. Across MacArthur Boulevard. Past the McDonald’s in the Eastmont Town Center. All the way down 73rd Avenue. That’s when the drive feels like home. The fast food chains. The flea market. The grime. The kids running around in the street. Most people see this as the rough part of town they want to speed through. Durant soaks it in. “It reminds me so much of Chocolate City, man,” Durant said, using a nickname for his hometown of Washington, D.C. “I be missing home a lot. So when I ride down through East Oakland to go to the game, I get my fix. I definitely feel like I’m riding around in my own neighborhood.”
January 21, 2018 | 12:56 pm EST Update
Frank Ntilikina is his own harshest critic. He doesn’t need any reminders when he doesn’t do well, and he’s the first to acknowledge it when that occurs. “I can play a lot better,” Ntilikina said. The rookie point guard was assessing his season, but it also applies to his recent play. Ntilikina has gone scoreless in four of the past six games, including the last two. He played his fewest minutes of the season Friday night — 4:55 — in the Knicks’ 117-115 win over the Jazz in Utah.
Jeff Hornacek had a quick hook with Frank Ntilikina, who didn’t take a shot for the first time this season, didn’t have an assist for the third time, committed two quick turnovers and looked slow on defense, which is his strength. Ntilikina also watched as newly signed Trey Burke ran the offense down the stretch. “At this stage, we can’t afford to have a five-minute stretch of not getting after it,” Hornacek said. “He’ll bounce back.”
Ntilikina had 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in a win over the Nets last Monday. His teammates were saying he can be a consistent triple-double guy, and he believed he was ready to turn the corner. But he hasn’t scored in the two games since. Ntilikina says he will keep working to become the player he knows he can be. “I have a short memory,” he said. “But the thing is I’m also hard on myself. I want to be great. So when I do something bad, I know it. I’m hard on myself for sure. It is required to become a great player. “It motivates me. It’s motivation. I know I have a lot of potential and I can do some great things in this league.”