NEW YORK - Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 35 points, and whenever he didn’t have the ball, fans at the Garden screamed for his teammates to get it to him.
More importantly, the New York Knicks (5-7) got the 105-102 victory against the Detroit Pistons (6-6) to win two games in a row for the first time this season.
This game vs. the Pistons was the eleventh game of the season for the Knicks, and the seventh game in which both Melo and Porzingis scored 20+ points. Together they’ve been one of the more consistent one-two punches in the league this season, when it comes to scoring.
Melo scored 22 points tonight.
“[We’re] just kind of playing off of each other. Him [Porzingis] picking his spots and me picking my spots out there and when he has it going we want to go through that,” said SF Carmelo Anthony.
Although it was yet another game where both scored over 20, tonight was all about Porzingis, who had a career night against Detroit. Despite his exciting rookie season, and getting off to a good start this season, it was not only the first time he scored 35 points, but it was also the first time he broke the 30-point barrier.
“He put us on his back tonight and that’s something that I’m proud of,” said Anthony.
In addition to Melo and Porzingis playing well together again, the rest of the team followed suit.
The Knicks played better both offensively and defensively against the Pistons than they did during their last meeting on Nov. 1.
Offensively, the Knicks did a better job moving the ball and cleaning up their own boards. They got 24 assists compared to last time’s 18. They also were +11 on the offensive boards, grabbing a total of 19 to Detroit’s eight.
Defensively, this time around the Knicks held the Pistons to 34.8% from behind the arc compared to 61.5% during their first meeting. The Knicks also did a better job playing smart defense without committing fouls, as they only committed 11 fouls compared to 20 last time.
This win fell nothing short of a team win with all but two players on the roster playing valuable minutes. Although the most minutes were played by Porzingis (40) and Melo (37), it was contributions such as Brandon Jennings’ seven assists and Kyle O’Quinn’s five rebounds off the bench that were just as important to the win.
However, it had to have been nice for Porzingis, who’s only played 83 games in the NBA, to hear MVP chants whenever he went to the free throw line on Wednesday.
“It’s huge. It kept me going. I got 25 at the half, and I wanted to go for 40,” said PF Kristaps Porzingis. “But I’m happy that the crowd was there supporting me giving me energy and we were able to get this win.”