Kristaps Porzingis just beat the absolute buzzers off these pesky Hornets. Easily the best game of his young career. Can't wait to see him top it! There is still some assembly required for Porzingis to be the best draft-day present since Patrick Ewing, but fresh out of the box he seems like tons of fun to play with! The Garden crowd even broke out into a chant for the youngster. Let's take a look at some things of note:
- Kristaps didn't allow this one to get down to the last shot: 29 points on 17 shots to go with 11 rebounds and only two fouls. Didn't miss from downtown (2-2) or the line (7-7). Shook Frank Kaminsky out of his jersey for a nice little baseline turn around jumper. Moved his feet on defense, containing and restraining all varieties of Hornet.
- Kemba Walker was the only one to identify how to offset Porzingis's quick feet. He did it early and often, en route to 31 points, often finding the big Flamingo out on an island and attacking with stutters and crossovers. As they got hip to hip, Walker would jump into (and just under) Porzingis-- effectively bulldozing him out of the way, and Kemba scooped up clean-enough shots with the outside hand.
- Kevin Seraphin was the first big off the bench tonight. Derek Fisher had already gone 12 deep into his rotation with nearly 9 minutes remaining in the first half; Kyle O'Quinn, who was in uniform, being the one glaring omission. Fisher is obviously still troubleshooting in the midst of trying to win games so I wouldn't read too much into anything. As for Seraphin, he started out confident and had a nice little lefty hook to get the ball rolling. He followed that up with some clunky shots and sloppy turnovers. Seraphin later got some crunch time minutes and garbled some leaden offensive sets, then was quickly given the hook to get Porzingis back in. The Knicks five-man unit to close out the game was Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps. They had previously shared the floor for just over a minute on the season, so who's in and who's out isn't really a thing that is being considered as much as tested.
- Jeremy Lin played well again and actually received some boos from the MSG crowd. I was shocked by that. They were probably just booing his idiotic hairdo. There is no Linsanctity.
- Conversely, Patrick Ewing received his customary standing ovation from the faithful. With Willis Reed in the building as well, the moment led to Kenny Albert and Clyde Frazier musing about Patrick's chances of becoming a head coach. It hit me right then— it would be so much fun to see Ewing in a suit and kneepads angrily stomping his way up the sideline and right into some puny referee's mug. I've missed the big fella's righteous indignation.
- Robin Lopez definitely drinks too much coffee.
- At one point, Frank Kaminsky was talking to Kristaps while lined up during a Jeremy Lin free throw. I need Sonny from A Bronx Tale to be the ref at a point like that. Frank Kaminsky is Coffee Cake. I don't want that guy talking to my guy when we're lined up for the free throw. Throw him in the bathroom!
- Jeremy Lamb's entire career is just one clutch-as-hell nap.
- Excellent job by all the Knick defenders to run the Hornitos off the 3-point line. Even when the help rotations were slow, they conceded the clean 2-point look, lest a triple be attempted. The rest of the defense was kind of annoying. Calderon switches too willingly and the bigs often lock in to the switch immediately. The when Galloway would get over a screen and spin the pick-setter out of his way, the hedge just buried their nose in. Thankfully Walker is willing to over-dribble and get in the air without a specific pass in mind. Otherwise, coulda been different.
- Carmelo Anthony also had a fantastic night. Not so much shooting-wise, but Melo picked Charlotte apart for large swaths of the game.
On this evening, though, we celebrate Porzingis. Lots to come tomorrow!