The New York Knicks Win in Kristaps Porzingis’ Summer League Debut


78. 27. Final. 73. 29

Kristaps Porzingis made his debut for the New York Knick‘s in his first Summer League game.

Although Porzingis was not the only one making a debut Saturday afternoon. Becky Hammon made her debut as the first female head coach of an NBA team in the summer league. Something Hammon was well aware of, as per Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

"“No, I mean, as much as I just want to coach these guys and get my feet wet a little bit being on the sidelines, I don’t want to downplay it,”“At the same time, I just want to coach. So it is a big deal, but then it’s not a big deal kind of in the same breath.”"

Hammon elaborated on what pushed her towards getting back into the locker room and into coaching.

"“I did some TV last year, and it was a very profound moment for me,” “because we finish up and the other guy looks at me and he says, ‘Isn’t it great being in TV? You never have to leave the gym a loser.’ And I was like, ‘Yup, this is it for me, because I never get to leave the gym a winner, either.’ So I knew just competitive-wise that kind of wrapped it up for me. It was kind of an a-ha moment. Like, yup, no, I’m not going to do this. I want to go coach.”"

Porzingis got the Knicks on the scoreboard first by getting Jean-Charles up in the air and fouling him. Porzingis knocked down both free-throws and then on the ensuing possession he showed off his 7’3″ frame, blocking his first shot. New York got ahead early as every Knick starter scored within less than three-minute of play in the opening quarter.

Shortly after collecting his first block, Porzingis scored his first field goal.

The San Antonio Spurs with a roster full of players hoping to just make the team as the 13th to 15th man OR catch the eye of another team’s scout, were ill-equipped to play a team full of players already playing in the NBA. With Porzingis’ second block of the game, the Spurs missed their first eight shots in the game and the Knicks led by as many 13-2 with 5:56 remaining in the first quarter.

More from Daily Knicks


Derek Fisher

benched all his starters, which was full of NBA talent (Porzingis,

Cleanthony Early


Travis Wear


Jerami Grant

, and

Langston Galloway

) the playing field got evened out. With both the squads playing NBA hopefuls, the Spurs almost completely erased their deficit. San Antonio went on a 13-2 run to end the first quarter. New York led by only one point 18-17 after the opening quarter of play.

The Spurs took the lead to start the second quarter behind a Jarell Eddie step back jumper. Eddie ignited a 9-3 run to give San Antonio a 26-21 lead. The Knicks quickly reclaimed the lead behind the duo of  Early and Grant. The combination combined to go on a 11-1 run to give New York a 32-27 lead with 5:22 remaining in the first half. Early reached double figures scoring within the first half, scoring ten first half points. Early was able to get to the line often, going 6/7 from the charity stripe in the first half. Early finished the game with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assist. Early was a plus +23 +/- in the game, the best Saturday afternoon.

Jonathon Simmons, who recently signed a two-year contract worth the veteran’s minimum really stood out in the first half. Simmons was a beast getting to free-throw line, scoring seven of his 11 first half points from the charity stripe. Simmons was also a hound defensively, collecting three steals at the half. Simmons contributions kept San Antonio in the game, the Spurs were only down by one point going into halftime 38-37, despite converting on only 30.3% of their field goal attempts.

More from Knicks News

Porzingis got the Knicks offense going in the second half, getting fouled from beyond the arc. Porzingis would miss one free throw. Kyle Anderson; a New Jersey native, went on a personal 6-0 run to give the Spurs a 43-40 lead with 7:27 remaining in the third quarter. Simmons again made his presence known late in the third quarter, driving into the teeth of the Knicks’ defense and throwing down a monster one-handed jam! Simmons finished the game with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. San Antonio lead by 54-49 after three-quarters of play.

It looked like the Spurs were going to take command of the game as San Antonio went on a 12-8 run to start the fourth quarter, taking a 66-57 lead with 7:27 in the final quarter. New York immediately responded with back-to-back three-pointers, which ballooned into a 16-0 run to give the Knicks a 73-66 lead with 2:47 remaining in the game. Porzingis capped off the run with an awkward lean in shot, as he picked up a poor pass from Galloway and thinking he felt contact he just threw it up at the rim and got the friendly row.

The kid from Jersey City, Anderson tried to spoil New York’s fun; going on a personal 5-1 run to get the Spurs within one point 74-73 with 38.1 seconds left in the game. Ricky Ledo was able to draw a foul and get to the line, extending the Knick’s lead to three points. Hammon called a timeout and diagram a wide open three-pointer for Eddie, fortunately for the Knicks…Eddie missed. New York would go on to win the game 78-73, winning their first game in the Summer League.

Porzingis and Grant had a very nice debut in their first NBA action. Porzingis finished the game with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 18 minutes of play. Grant played 24 minutes, tallying up 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block for the game. It was nice to see the young talents finally take the floor. A win, is a win. Even if it is against players just hoping to make an NBA roster, while the Knicks are actually playing NBA talent.

New York’s young talent will take the floor again Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Game starts at 8:30 PM EST, should be fun to watch D’Angelo Russell take on the Knicks.