Final Score: Knicks 105, Pistons 102
It isn’t a Knicks game without my blood pressure torpedoing towards the moon in the final minute. Honestly, I don’t know how the Pistons were in this. You would’ve thought we were up by 30 by how raucous the Garden was. Instead of a pull away victory, it felt like we stole one. Porzingis goes for 35 points and 7 rebounds, Melo adds 22 and Rose puts in 15 and it was only a 3 point victory. I’m only making this a point of emphasis because I’m sure this will get spun into an “you guys only beat the Reggie Jackson-less Pistons by 3 in MSG” narrative when in fact, this game was well in hand for most of the game.
No fretting, though, because a win is a win, and boy did New York need to keep the momentum going with a mini-streak. The Knicks played a solid game on both sides of the ball, and while the scoring wasn’t as balanced as fans would hope going forward, players made an impact in other areas. Brandon Jennings went 0-4 but had 7 assists. Joakim Noah had 7 points but added 15 rebounds – seven of which came on the offensive end. The Knicks finished with 19 offensive rebounds and finished with a +12 rebounding differential. The defense played with an increased energy as the rotations were more fluid than previous games.
But this game was about Kristaps. We saw him make moves yesterday that, well, we haven’t seen a big 7 feet do frankly ever. Giannis and KAT are the only ones who come close to duplicating anything KP does from an athleticism standpoint and to be completely honest, they have him beat. But KP has 3-4 inches on those guys, and he’s making moves like these:
Words escape me at the moment. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what nor who to believe. Should I be excited or cynical? Someone tell Porzingis to avoid La Marina and Greenhouse and stay away from Dyckman. I’m trying to avoid all pitfalls and potential disasters. We have a once-in-a-lifetime gem on our hands. This is like watching My Little Pony blossom into Seabiscuit. I’m witnessing a Latvian unicorn turn grown men to porridge, run the floor like Michael Johnson in the 400, and hit step back jumpers all while yelling “Fuck Outta Here!” at referees after a bad call. Is this what hope feels like?
KP scored 25 of his 35 points in the first half, showcasing the full arsenal of moves. He put the ball on the ground and attacked the rim. He hit tough fadeaway jumpers and ran the floor for easy buckets. And equally important, he made a couple great plays defensively. Take a look at this steal on Detroit’s point guard Ish Smith. Smith attacks in transition, gets into the paint and elevates where he’s met by Derrick Rose, who defends the shot beautifully, and KP on his right. While in the air, Smith spots Tobias Harris at the three-point line and tries to get him the ball. But Kristaps intercepts and starts the break. And it doesn’t stop there. He chugs and chugs and chugs down court and instead of passing to Courtney Lee on a 2-1 advantage, Kristaps goes in for circus lay-up:
It’s beautiful. It’s ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense, and I’m certainly not trying to make sense of it. Even the misses are ridiculous because, you know, he’s 7’3″ crossing up defenders: