These are good times for the New York Knicks, beating the Boston Celtics 120-114 despite not having Carmelo Anthony for the finish, but still enjoying the ability of their two rookies, Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant.
Porzingis finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks before fouling out (playing 27 minutes), which goes to show that if the Knicks decide to trade Anthony at some point, points won’t be a problem to find. Grant, coming off the bench for 23 minutes, scored 16 points and added 8 assists, scoring 10 of his points in the final quarter. He scored six points in the final minute, with Porzingis and Anthony already off the court, to seal the game shut.
The Celtics had a 106-105 lead with 2:44 to go, but the Knicks pulled through. Derrick Williams, finishing with 15 points, just like Robin Lopez, said it was an excellent sign for this team on its road to greater things in the future, something of a turning point even, which a season has a few of. Lopez and Williams were the ones who brought back the lead to the Knicks, which this time they didn’t relinquish in the final two minutes of the game.
Arron Afflalo also scored 24 points, in a game without a lot of defense, which worked fine for the Knicks, who seem to have more variety and options on offense compared to the Celtics. They shot 53.1% from the field and made the most of something the Celtics have been trying to fix for over a season: Stopping teams from scoring on them in the paint. The Knicks had 54 points in the paint, and usually had an easy shot to make without too much getting in the way.
Despite not finishing the game, Porzingis keeps standing out. He’s averaging 13.9 points and 7.9 rebounds on his rookie campaign, not letting fatigue slow him down. He’s been doing great recently with 19.6 points over the last five games while shooting 50% from the field, adding two blocks per game. With every game that goes by it’s easy to see what a great decision the Knicks made when they drafted him. The question that remains is whether it was dumb luck or a part of Phil Jackson lifting this franchise back towards contending, something that has rarely happened in the last 16 years.