Knicks Come Back from 19 Down to Defeat Pacers as Porzingis Lights Up MSG with 40

Published on: 7th November, 2017

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Kristaps over NY Skyline
Porzingis is taking over games at crunch time  | read this item

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The New York Knicks came into this season with a roster most observers believed was among the least talented, least athletic teams in the NBA. And, mostly, they were right. 

Except, in today’s NBA, if you have that one player capable of taking over games at crunch time, singlehandedly stopping the other team from scoring while becoming such an unguardable force in putting up offensive numbers that are absolutely worthy of superstar status, a bad team has a chance to win every game. 

Say hello to the NBA’s newest superstar, Kristaps Porzingis. 

Porzingis lit up the Garden, again with a career-high 40 points, carrying the New York Knicks back from a 19-point deficit to a 108-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.

Porzingis added eight rebounds and six blocked shots in his seventh 30-point performance in nine games this season. It almost seems this kid is setting new career highs almost every night, be it points scored, blocked shots, or key buckets in crunch time.

The other potential “core fixture” of the Knicks future, Frank Ntilikina, made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining as the Knicks won for the fifth time in six games after an 0-3 start. He had 10 points and seven assists off the bench. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16 points.

Thaddeus Young scored 18 points and Victor Oladipo had 17 for the Pacers, who led 84-65 with under 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

 

KP is taking over games in crunch time

Porzingis, who played after tweaking his left ankle in a 37-point performance Friday night, reeled off nine straight points that made it 84-74 in the opening seconds of the fourth. He scored 24 points over the final 13 minutes of the game.

After Ntilikina’s 3-pointer made it 102-99, Knicks center Enes Kanter picked up a bad pass by Darren Collison and fed Tim Hardaway Jr. for a layup that made it 104-99 with 1:10 to go.

Oladipo cut the deficit to 104-101 with 32 seconds left in the game, but Lance Thomas’ two free throws made it 106-101 to seal the comeback win with 11.9 seconds to play.

Myles Turner added 15 points and Collison had 15 points and 10 assists for the Pacers, who’ve lost two straight.

The  22-year old, 7’3″ budding star (budding or established?) has slid in very comfortably into the role previously held by Carmelo Anthony. The only difference being, so far, is Porzingis does not get the ball and turn into a black hole, never seeing the ball leave his leer. He looks to find the open man when he is doubled, or he makes a move that forces the defense to react to him, setting the chess pieces of the Knicks offense in motion. 

It’s called, doing things that make your teammates better.

Coming out the darkness of the Phil Jackson era, with his silly triangle offense NOBODY on this team wanted to play, or coach for that matter, the Knicks are having fun playing basketball, again and the building is starting to have the sounds of a fan base that feels happier than they have in almost a generation, going back to the 1990s and Patrick Ewing’s teams.

The makeup of this roster,  comprised of kids and veterans, did not, at first glance, seem NBA quality. But, chemistry and good coaching are a funny thing,  As these games turn into wins, you can see how this group enjoys each other and encourage one another throughout games. 

Confidence is also a funny thing. It doesn’t take that much success to believe you can repeat that success over and over again. Especially when you have the league’s tallest superstar and perhaps, it’s best player.

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