New York Knicks earn their first win in the Kristaps Porzingis era

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Kristaps Porzingis
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Kristaps Porzingis /

The New York Knicks were able to lock down their first victory of the 2017-18 season in the Kristaps Porzingis era with a win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The New York Knicks are no longer the only team without a win in the 2017-18 NBA season. This one came as a surprise to those who saw them put on a defensive clinic with determination against the Brooklyn Nets.

Before we go any further, it is worth noting that we finally got the best color commentator in basketball back on Friday night in Clyde Frazier. This game would also mark the first start of the season for Jarrett Jack, and Frank Ntilikina put in decent minutes as well.

From the tip-off, the Knicks looked more settled than they have recently and it seemed evident that this was due to Jack leading the team up the court. In 25 minutes, he scored eight points with seven rebounds and five assists.

Overall it was a rock solid performance that the New York Knicks needed in their backcourt with Tim Hardaway Jr. slumping in the early stages of the season thus far.

The Knicks started the game with an 8-0 run, only to allow the Nets to follow up with a 10-0 run of their own. It seemed the Knicks would start doing “Knick” things from that moment onward as they were outscored in the first quarter, 28-23. But then New York decided enough was enough and it was time to give the Garden a much-needed winning performance to lift their spirits out of the gutter.

Dominant defense against the Nets

This win may not seem like a big deal at all just four games into the season, but it is only because the Nets were able to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers just a couple nights ago. Of course there was that, plus the fact that Brooklyn came into this game leading the league in points per game, playing against a Knicks team who seemingly couldn’t guard a traffic cone one-on-one.

The New York Knicks would outscore the Nets 24-14 in the second quarter, and went on a 25-6 run in the third quarter. The Knicks took the lead back indefinitely midway through the second quarter and would not allow the Nets an opportunity for a comeback, leading by as many as 23 points.

Side note, Hornacek gets two points for saying Demarre Carroll flopped on a play where Michael Beasley clearly fouled him. During the postgame interview, Hornacek had his players’ backs and hushed suggestions that Beasley was being booed.

Kristaps Porzingis may not appear to have all the workings of a legitimate court general only four games into the season, but he is certainly scoring like one. On the season, Porzingis is scoring 26.5 points per game and night notched another 30 points in just 29 minutes of play Friday night. He finished the night with 30 points on 54.2 percent shooting from the field with nine rebounds, three blocks and one steal.

Kristaps is still struggling from beyond the arc and while it was not a large factor in this game, it will become one if improvement is not found and fast. He shot 1-for-6 from beyond the arc and the team shot a poor 9-for-27 from deep as they continue to struggle as a whole.

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Kyle O’ Quinn had a great night for just 18 minutes on the court. While he scored just four points, he was a champion on the glass, grabbing a total of 12 rebounds (five offensive and seven defensive). He was also able to dish out three assists, one steal and one block as he did a little bit of everything to contribute to this win.

Once again we had another solid performance by Enes Kanter, who is making Willy Hernangomez really fight for every minute he gets. Kanter finished with 12 points in 16 minutes, grabbing six rebounds and two blocks. Hernangomez finished with just four points in 13 minutes, grabbing four rebounds and two steals.

Finally, how about some Frank Ntilikina? Well, he looked better and a bit more composed with the rock, and he was not chucking up air balls this time. He saw 22 minutes and scored nine points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field, but got his job done tallying up five assists, two rebounds and one steal.

He still appears to be a long ways away from being a legitimate starter, but perhaps by the All-Star break without further injuries we can see better and more complete performances strung together by the rookie.

All in all this was a game the Knicks needed to win to not fall into a downward spiral and deep losing streak to start the season.

Next: 2017-18 Week 2 NBA Power Rankings

They got the job done, played smothering defense, made some plays, and most of all, got their first win of the season in the Kristaps Porzingis era.