“POR-ZING-IS!” “POR-ZING-IS!” “POR-ZING-IS!”
I think it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing that chant at Madison Square Garden for years to come. With no foul trouble holding him back, Kristaps Porzingis put it all together tonight with the best game of his young career (29 points, 11 rebounds) as the Knicks beat the Hornets 102-94. Although this was yet another game with fourth quarter woes, our team showed resilience in tightening up and getting the job done.
DREAM SHAKES AND LETHAL LONG-BALL: Porzingis was all over the court tonight. His teammates kept him involved on the perimeter and fed him down low. His showed how killer he can be in the post with a smooth Dream Shake fadeaway. His hands were active around the basket and that made Melo confident in feeding him for layups:
Offensively he came through for us. It felt good to hear his name chanted in the arena. I’m proud of him.
Melo’s passing (5 assists) and rebounding (11) were strong, but his shooting touch was off (6/18). He missed numerous layups at the rim, and usually a night like this would produce a Knicks loss. Porzingis showed his value in not just being a strong second option, but also being able to take over on a cold Melo shooting night.
And when we have nights where both are shooting well and scoring over 20? Whew, watch out league…
HORNETS 2ND UNIT HAS OUR NUMBER: Once again, the Hornets benched outscored ours 41-27. Jeremy Lin had a strong second quarter where he got to the rim at will (13 points). Even Spencer Hawes was balling for a stretch, hitting two three pointers and finishing with 14 points. Luckily, the Hornets as a whole took some sloppy shots late in the fourth and the Knicks were able to pull away. Kemba Walker decided he wanted to show out for his hometown (31 points), but his one-man show wasn’t enough.
UNSUNG HEROES: Much attention will be paid to Porzingis’ big night, but several cast members made this victory possible. Arron Affalo looked for his shot the entire night, dropping 16 points and doing his part (along with Melo) to hold Nic Batum to 1/9 shooting. Langston Galloway (9 points, 4 rebounds) continues to hit clutch shots (usually threes) to lift our team in key moments. His three to close the third put us up 80-72. The Hornets would get close, but never got the lead.