Of course, Kristaps Porzinigs’ regular season Celtics debut happened at MSG. Of course, it ended with the former New York Knicks lottery pick putting on a show in a 108-104 Celtics win.
Porzingis is one of Boston’s biggest offseason acquisitions, with Jrue Holiday being the other. The Celtics lost Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Malcolm Brogdon in the process, but their aggressive moves paid off in their first of 82 games.
Jayson Tatum led Boston with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, while Porzingis poured in 30 points (8-of-15 from the field, 5-of-9 from deep), eight rebounds, and four blocks. New York couldn’t get anything in the paint with Porzingis’ towering frame blocking the way.
He was dominant on both ends, hitting the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:29 left to put the Celtics up 104-101.
Kristaps Porzingis torches his former team in 108-104 Celtics win
Kristaps Porzingis’ final stat line also included two technical fouls, but he wasn’t ejected because his first came on a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul for flopping. The NBA is cracking down on flops this season, which was made evident on Wednesday.
Some New York fans were pondering a Porzingis reunion this summer, but he went to a hated division rival instead. It’s been over four years since he and the Knicks had an ugly breakup, and based on what fans were chanting at the Garden on Wednesday, they’re not ready to make nice.
Imagine if you would’ve told fans in 2015 that they’d be rooting for Isaiah Hartenstein over Porzingis in eight years. At that point, fans didn’t even know who Hartenstein was.
If you’re eagerly awaiting New York and Boston’s next game, you won’t have to wait long. On Nov. 13, the Knicks will visit TD Garden, otherwise known as the second-best Garden. Maybe Kristaps Porzingis going off in New York means a Knicks player will do the same in Boston. Whatever happens, hopefully, they won’t miss 12 free throws again.