Knicks cen­ter to skip trip, fear­ing as­sas­si­na­tion

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Sports -

New York cen­ter Enes Kan­ter will not travel to Lon­don for the Knicks’ up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional game be­cause he be­lieves he could be as­sas­si­nated for his op­po­si­tion to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

Kan­ter an­nounced his plan Fri­day night af­ter a 119-112 win over the Lak­ers. The Knicks later said Kan­ter also won’t make the trip be­cause of a visa is­sue.

New York will face Washington at The O2 arena in Lon­don on Jan. 17. He says he can’t travel any­where ex­cept the U.S. and Canada be­cause “there’s a chance I could get killed out there.”

“Sadly, I’m not go­ing be­cause of that freak­ing lu­natic, the Turk­ish pres­i­dent,” Kan­ter said.

Kan­ter has been a vo­cal critic of Er­do­gan for years, once re­fer­ring to him as “the Hitler of our cen­tury.” Kan­ter’s Turk­ish pass­port was re­voked in 2017, and an in­ter­na­tional war­rant for his ar­rest was is­sued by Turkey.

High­lights

Nuggets 123, Hor­nets 110: Nikola Jo­kic scored a sea­son-high 39 points and grabbed 12 re­bounds, re­serve Paul Mill­sap added 18 and Western Con­fer­ence-lead­ing Den­ver knocked off Char­lotte for its 10th straight home vic­tory. At 26-11, the Nuggets are off to their best NBA start in fran­chise his­tory. This also marks the lat­est they’ve been in first place in the con­fer­ence since March 16, 1977.

Jazz 110, Pis­tons 105: Dono­van Mitchell scored 24 of his 26 points in the sec­ond half, and Utah ral­lied from an 18-point, sec­ond-quar­ter deficit to win at Detroit. Blake Grif­fin scored 34 points for the Pis­tons.

76ers 106, Mav­er­icks 100: Joel Em­biid had 25 points and 12 re­bounds, and Ben Sim­mons had 20 points, 14 re­bounds and 11 as­sists in Philadel­phia’s vic­tory over vis­it­ing Dal­las. Em­biid hit two key free throws late for Philadel­phia, which was with­out Jimmy But­ler for the sec­ond straight game due to an up­per res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion.

Pel­i­cans 133, Cava­liers 98: Jrue Hol­i­day and Julius Ran­dle both scored 22 points, and New Or­leans handed Cleve­land its ninth straight loss in a rout. The de­feat came a night af­ter Cava­liers coach Larry Drew and his play­ers held a lengthy meet­ing fol­low­ing a 26- point loss to Utah.

No­table

Bet­ter days? The Knicks, mean­while, are hop­ing Fri­day’s re­silient per­for­mance in Los An­ge­les marks a turn­ing point in their try­ing sea­son.

The Lak­ers? They just hope LeBron James feels bet­ter very soon.

Tim Har­d­away Jr. scored 22 points as the Knicks snapped an eightgame los­ing streak. The Lak­ers dropped to 1-4 with­out James, side­lined for at least an­other week with a left groin strain. Los An­ge­les also played with­out sec­ond-lead­ing scorer Kyle Kuzma, who has a bruised back.

The Knicks blew an early 17-point lead be­fore ral­ly­ing from a six-point deficit in the fourth quar­ter. Kan­ter scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch.

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