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Knicks 102, Hornets 94: Scenes from the dawn of Kristaps

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Hey. The thing where the Knicks stop executing in the last 5 minutes, and the thing where all the bench guys take the floor at once and blow leads ... both those things could be better. The Knicks should have had this game wrapped up much earlier.

THAT SAID, I had a ton of fun tonight. I'm glad the Knicks held off another Hornets comeback to get themselves back to .500. I'm glad Carmelo Anthony played a rounded, rugged game with love and charity for all, even on a night when he couldn't catch a break. I'm glad Jose Calderon, Arron Afflalo, and -- most of all -- Langston Galloway hit some big, big three-pointers. Most of all, I'm glad to have just witnessed the first truly Great game of Kristaps Porzingis's young career -- 29 sundry points, 11 rowdy rebounds, and a warm bath in the adoration of Madison Square Garden. Let's look at some things!

Kristaps did most of his dirt in the first half, dropping 17 to surpass any prior whole game in excellence. He didn't go away in the second half, though, and actually canned a momentous three. It was beautiful. I feel like crying a little. I mean ...

... look:

... at ...

... this ...

... guy:

The Knicks pulled ahead, but the bench pushed them back. They just couldn't contain Jeremy Lin:

They switched a lot over even the weakest screens, and it pinched rest of the defense to ill effect:

But man, I'm not kidding when I say Melo played a huge game, even at 6-18. He practically force-fed Porzingis, including a set-up for his easiest finish of the evening:

And he returned for the final seconds of the third quarter to make this critical extra pass that made a huge difference in the game and made my heart shoot straight out of my butt in joy:

The Knicks got really, really tight at the end. It's good to kill clock, but at some point you have to actually attack. They blew a lot of lanes and took only the final available (often not even close to the best available!) shots. They held the Hornets mostly in check on the other end, though, and a double-digit lead drained to no less than 4 in the final minute. Way to survive, Knicks. Drink it in, big man: