If you’re into symbolism, Kristaps Porzingis’s night should resonate with every Knicks fan. You’re rolling along, looking good, feeling good about the future, you do something outright spectacular—and then Carmelo Anthony falls on your head.
The Knicks, lost, of course—frisky as they are, they’re no match for the Spurs, even one still trying to figure out where everyone fits in a rotation that now features LaMarcus Aldridge. “I don’t even know what I’m doing yet,” said Popovich, who admitted he hadn’t really scouted the Knicks at all.
But the fun in seeing what the Knicks’ fourth-overall pick is capable of, and the big Latvian excited early. He grabbed five rebounds in the game’s first four minutes, and put up his first career double-double in 24 minutes. But the moment that grabbed everyone’s attention was Porzingis’s putback slam over Aldridge’s back:
OK, that was fun. So too was the 20-year-old’s first instinct after the dunk, which was to flex. Everybody likes what they’ve seen from Porzingis through his first four games, from desperate Knicks fans to opponents. “He was impressive,” Tim Duncan said.
Naturally, the good vibes died when Porzingis was injured late in the fourth. Carmelo Anthony, who led the Knicks with 19 points on 4-of-17 shooting, came down on Porzingis, who remained flat on the court for a few minutes.
X-rays were negative, and the Knicks are calling it a soft-tissue neck injury. Porzingis says he’ll be fine “soon.” Good, because if you truly must watch the Knicks, Porzingis is quickly emerging as the best reason to.