Porzingis fig­ur­ing things out as Knicks pre­vail

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brian Ma­honey

Kristaps Porzingis heard the roar of the fans and looked up at the scoreboard to see why they were cheer­ing.

The board showed that Porzingis had his first 30-point game in the NBA, and the New York Knicks think it could be the first of many.

“He’s fig­ur­ing ev­ery­thing out,” point guard Derrick Rose said. “Like, he’s go­ing out here scor­ing 30 and he re­ally don’t know the NBA yet.”

Porzingis scored a ca­reer-high 35 points and the Knicks held on for a 105-102 vic­tory over the Detroit Pistons on Wed­nes­day night.

The 7-foot-3 for­ward from Latvia hit three 3-point­ers and con­verted a daz­zling three-point play in the first half after dunk­ing a lob pass on the fast break.

“You see the whole pack­age tonight,” coach Jeff Hor­nacek said. “He was in­side, he was out­side. I thought he was great.”

Carmelo An­thony added 22 points to help the Knicks win their sec­ond straight. Joakim Noah bounced back nicely with seven points and 15 re­bounds after he was benched in the sec­ond half of the Knicks’ vic­tory over Dal­las on Mon­day night while Porzingis moved to cen­ter in a smaller lineup.

Porzingis played some more cen­ter Wed­nes­day and ev­ery­where else on the floor, draw­ing “MVP! MVP!” chants while also grab­bing seven re­bounds.

“It was just hap­pen­ing, and a lot of stuff that I worked on dur­ing the sum­mer came out,” he said.

It al­most wasn’t enough, as Detroit pulled within two in the fi­nal minute and had a chance to tie but Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope missed a 3-pointer on the last pos­ses­sion.

He fin­ished with 21 points and To­bias Har­ris added 19 points and 10 re­bounds for the Pistons, who had won two straight.

Porzingis was 4 for 5 for nine points in the first quar­ter, then had 16 more in the sec­ond quar­ter, high­lighted by his slam that broke a 33all tie. Kyle O’Quinn had blocked a shot to trig­ger a fast break, with Porzingis run­ning ahead to catch Bran­don Jen­nings’ lob and slam it down while be­ing fouled by Jon Leuer, land­ing awk­wardly but get­ting up quickly as Knicks play­ers from the nearby bench spilled onto the floor in celebration.

“The guy had a great night and some of what he did is un­stop­pable,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But when he out­runs you down the floor for a dunk off a missed shot, not a turnover, that’s in­ex­cus­able.”

TIP-INS

Pistons: An­dre Drum­mond had 15 points and nine re­bounds after miss­ing a game with a sprained right an­kle . ... Detroit is 5-0 at home but 1-6 on the road.

Knicks: Jen­nings av­er­aged 14.1 points and 6.6 as­sists in 144 games with Detroit from 2013-16 . ... New York has won three straight and 12 of the last 14 meet­ings at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

STAN SPEAKS

A day after LeBron James crit­i­cized Knicks Pres­i­dent Phil Jack­son for us­ing the word “posse” in an in­ter­view to de­scribe James’ friends and busi­ness part­ners, Van Gundy was re­flec­tive Wed­nes­day when think­ing about his own words, call­ing on peo­ple to be aware of their lan­guage and at­ti­tudes.

“I’m go­ing to be per­fectly hon­est here, I’ve used that word be­fore, OK,” Van Gundy said , “and when that all came out I had to ask my­self, have I ever used that word be­fore with a white player, and the an­swer is no. So, I think, look, you have to be aware of the lan­guage and you have to be aware a lit­tle bit of your own bi­ases if you’re go­ing to over­come them and so I took that se­ri­ously.”

GOOD GUY

Har­ris was hon­ored with the NBA Cares Com­mu­nity As­sist Award for Oc­to­ber for his lead­er­ship and ded­i­ca­tion to men­tor­ing at-risk youth through­out the com­mu­nity. He’ll be pre­sented with the award Satur­day at home against Bos­ton, and Kaiser Per­ma­nente and the NBA will do­nate $10,000 on his be­half to Feed­ing Chil­dren Ev­ery­where.

FOOT­BALL FANS

NFL stars Von Miller of the Den­ver Bron­cos and Odell Beck­ham Jr. of the New York Gi­ants were at the game.

MARY ALTAFFER — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Knicks for­ward Kristaps Porzingis soars to bas­ket past Pistons for­ward To­bias Har­ris dur­ing New York vic­tory over Detroit.

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