Unicorns and rainbows. Kristaps Porzingis has steadily emerged as a primary scorer for the Knicks as Jeff Hornacek has made it a priority to find the 7-foot-3 rare breed and exploit mismatches. Porzingis had 25 of his career-high 35 points in the first half and even had Carmelo Anthony marveling at the zone he was in. “Brilliant,” was how Melo described it.
But what can’t be overlooked in KP’s big night was another emerging entity in a Knicks uniform: Defense.
Each game it gets progressively better and looking more organized. The defensive effort produced nine blocked shots (three by Kyle O’Quinn) and eight steals (three by Courtney Lee). Perhaps a better statistic is that with their aggressive defense, the Knicks committed just 11 fouls and the Pistons attempted only 12 free throws. Remember, in the first few games of the season, fouls — especially early in quarters — was an issue.
Another good sign was the play of Joakim Noah, who sat out the second half in favor of a smaller lineup against the Mavericks. Noah grabbed 15 rebounds, with seven on the offensive glass, and added seven points, three assists and three blocks in 25 minutes.
So with these consecutive wins, the Knicks (5-6) have a chance to get to .500 tonight in Washington against a struggling Wizards team. It’s a back-to-back, so the bench will be very important tonight.
Be sure to join us on MSG at 6:30 PM for Knicks Game Night for tonight’s SAP Stat of the Game.