Kristaps Porzingis Throws the Rockets a Block Party!


169. 107. 27. Final. 102

Saturday night the New York Knicks took on the Houston Rockets on the second game of a back to back.

New York was fortunate enough that Houston decided to rest their star Dwight Howard for the evening. Although Clint Capela more than held his own starting in place of Howard. Capela finished the game with 16 points and 14 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

The Rockets got out to a good start, leading 15-8 midway through the first quarter. After a timeout by Derek Fisher, the Knicks quickly rallied back, going on a 9-2 run to tie the game up at 17 with 3:52 remaining in the opening period.

The Knicks started off the second quarter ice-cold from the field, missing their first ten attempts in the period. Then Porzingis and Arron Afflalo got hot, especially from beyond the arc in the second quarter. Both knocked down a couple of three-pointers in the period, combining to score 18 of the team’s total 34 points in the second quarter. New York held a 58-53 advantage behind the duo’s hot shooting.

Carmelo Anthony got into foul trouble three minutes into the second half, fortunately New York was able to rely on their defense with their superstar on the bench. The Knicks threw the Rockets a block party in the period (4), with Porzingis leading the way with three blocks in the quarter alone.

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New York held Houston to below 40% shooting and was able to hang on to their lead entering the final period, 79-77. It was a tight game throughout, with 12 lead changes and 18 ties. The fourth quarter would be no different with the game tied seven times in the final period but New York always had an answer and never gave up the lead.

Porzingis late in the fourth quarter broke a 93 tie with a jump shot and then on the ensuing possession altered a Terrance Jones‘ shot at the rim.

About two minutes later Porzingis blocked Harden’s floater, which ignited a fast break leading to an Anthony three-pointer to give New York a 98-95 advantage with 2:18 remaining in the game. Anthony’s attempt was one of those ‘no, no, no, yes, yes , yes type of shots as Anthony was doubled teamed on the play…but it went in…so whatever.

Anthony though would foolishly foul Trevor Ariza on the ensuing play as he attempted a three-pointer…luckily for New York Ariza  missed one free-throw. With over a minute left in the game and the Knicks holding on desperately to a one point lead, Porzingis saved the day yet again with another block on Harden as he attacked the rim. This gave Porzingis his seventh block of the night, which tied the Knicks’ franchise record for rookies.

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On the following possession, Anthony gave the Knicks a 102-99 lead with 39.7 left in the game after sealing off his man nicely for an easy layup at the rim, albeit getting goaltended. With plenty of time left, for some reason the Rockets looked like they insisted on tying the game a three. Harden backpedaled his way to the three-point line only to give it up because he was heavily contested. Ariza then went on to miss the potential game tying three, allowing New York to seal the game at the line but Anthony left the door open by splitting his free-throws.

Jones, who has been struggling shooting all night,knocked down a three-pointer with 7.8 seconds remaining to give Houston a glimmer of hope, down 102-105. Jones shot only 5/14 from the field Saturday night, but still finished the game with 19 points and 9 rebounds.

New York though got away from the defense for a few seconds, which essentially sealed the Rockets’ fate since they had no more timeouts remaining. The Knicks went on to win 107-102, ending a ten game losing streak in Houston at the Toyota Center.

New York was able to force James Harden into a poor shooting game, finishing the game 8/20 from the field. Harden though still got his numbers as he almost collected a triple-double of his own with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assist.

It was good to see Porzingis bounce back with such a great game after a quiet performance against the Thunder Friday night. Porzingis had a stellar night on Saturday, almost notching a triple-double with blocks, finishing the game with an astonishing stat line of 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks!

Anthony only scored 14 points but the Knicks were red hot from downtown. With a dozen three-pointers made, it more than negated Melo’s low scoring output for one night.

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New York has now won four games in a row, with a couple of nice road wins against the Thunder and Rockets. The Knicks will have one day to rest and travel as they look for their fifth straight victory against the Miami Heat Monday night.