New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis shines as team blows 21 point lead

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01: Kristaps Porzingis
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01: Kristaps Porzingis /

The New York Knicks looked new and improved but ultimately failed down the stretch in a painful 111-107 loss in their debut at home.

The New York Knicks looked like a group of guys with something to prove for the first three quarters against the Detroit Pistons. But then the fourth quarter came, and reality set in that, of course, the Knicks had to make this one hard on themselves.

Kristaps Porzingis only missed two shots in the first half and one of those shots was a halfcourt heave. Enes Kanter got the nod for the second game in a row for starter minutes and scored 17 points in a physical match-up against Andre Drummond. While Drummond tacked on a few more points than Kanter, Enes committed far less turnovers and both players had double-double performances on the night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. choked most of the night until the fourth quarter making a couple timely baskets and ending his dry spell with a 3-pointer that momentarily tied the game at 106-106. He finished the night 4-of-16 from the field and 3-of-10 from beyond the arc scoring 14 points.

What became clear well through the first half and in the second as well is that Kristaps Porzingis appears ready to embrace the role that has been in discussion for over a year. He has so far in two games appeared sound on both ends of the floor, and he has also kept his personal fouls to a minimum. Saturday night he played 34 minutes scoring 33 points on 11-of-20 from the field. He struggled with his 3-point shot in the second half and shot 3-of-10 for the night from behind the arc.

Fun fact of the game: Kristaps Porzingis joined a list of New York Knick greats for putting up two consecutive 30+ point games to start the season. The last player to accomplish this was Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

Despite the fact that the Knicks took their potential blowout win in their debut at the Garden and turned it into a loss, there is a positive perspective. The New York Knicks appeared to be everything other than prepared to lay down and tank.

Why is our young talent not coming off the bench?

Some fans may cheer for the teams second loss, and count each one with the hopes that it turns into a promising draft pick. But against all messages from the front office during the offseason, it seems to be all talk and less action regarding their most recent draft picks.

Frank Ntilikina has missed another game due to injury, and that sentence is becoming all too familiar alarmingly fast. Going from hopeful savior point guard to injury prone in the length of a summer is beginning to look more questionable each day.

While Tim Hardaway Jr. was bricking his shots for most of the game, Damyean Dotson never left the bench. Mindaugas Kuzminskas was not suited up to play either.

Good lord, what about Willy Hernangomez? He was never called off the bench either, and we can only hope for a good explanation for this one from Jeff Hornacek. Enes Kanter may be the starter, and Kyle O’ Quinn had a solid night as well, but it does not equal to leaving a star on the bench. Willy Hernangomez kept the Knicks in many games last season and did it in the same fashion Ron Baker had, stepping up for an injured former All-Star.

The Detroit Pistons slowly chipped away at a New York Knicks lead and crushed the Gardens hope for the first win to come at the debut at home.

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But the troubling part is this, if the Knicks won this game without those four studs, what does this mean for the rotation going forward?