Oh, what a beautiful sight it was. Down by as much as 17 against an offensively talented Indiana Pacers team, and the Knicks found a way to come back and take a much-needed win to put their record above .500 for the first time this season.
Now, I understand it’s only 9 games in for the Knicks. But the last time the Knicks were above .500 in their first 9 games was the 2012 season, when they started off 8-1. So this is exciting, new, and slightly promising.
Perhaps the only talking point necessary is Kristaps Porzingis. The 22-year-old Latvian dropped yet another career high in points, as he collected 40 points on 15-24 shooting. He shined on the defensive end as well, blocking 6 shots, and grabbing 8 rebounds. More importantly, however, for the first time in a long time, the Knicks are led by a selfless, team player who plays with as much grit as he does finesse, and can score in a multitude of ways.
The Knick’s young stud received MVP chants from the Garden faithful, marking the first time a Knick not named Melo, Jeremy Lin, or Ron Baker, has earned the sacred chant. The first name was serious, the latter two merely jokes that probably did more to hurt Ron Baker’s confidence than it did to boost it. But these recent MVP chants that echo through the garden are no joke, and not for any silly reason.
KP is an MVP of this league.
He has just about erased all of those comparisons to Dirk, as he has surpassed the skillset Dirk ever had. Dirk was never able to take anyone off the dribble or shoot threes from 35 feet. Not to mention defense, where Dirk is consistently a liability, Porzingis a star.
The truth is, there is no comparison for Kristaps Porzingis. The league has never seen a player that can do what he is doing. Add to the mix a young, athletic point guard in Frank Ntilkina, and the Knicks have a duo that can make an impact in this league.
After the game, Porzingis said, “We’re just playing with that New York mentality. That New York grit. We’re representing the city the right way.”
And he couldn’t be more right. Somewhere right now, Charles Oakley is smiling at the word “grit”, as he was the last piece of grit that the Garden saw (both on the floor and in the stands).