Kristaps Porzingis, after scoring career-high 40 factors, says he is ‘very comfy’ as New York Knicks’ No. 1 choice


NEW YORK — After scoring a career-high 40 factors within the New York Knicks’ come-from-behind win over the Indiana Pacers, Kristaps Porzingis mentioned he is “very comfortable” because the staff’s No. 1 choice.

“I’m seeing a different type of defense almost every night. No matter who I’m playing against they’re trying to be physical with me. I’m just trying to make the right decision, whether it’s me being aggressive and attacking or pbading the ball,” Porzingis mentioned after scoring 17 fourth-quarter factors within the Knicks’ win. “Just trying to play my game and staying calm mentally.”

Porzingis has scored not less than 30 factors in seven of the Knicks’ first 9 video games and is the important thing issue behind New York profitable 5 of its previous six video games. Porzingis is the NBA’s No. 2-leading scorer, averaging 30.2 factors per sport; Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the league with a scoring common.

“I think again the game has slowed [for him and] he’s playing with confidence,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek mentioned. “He’s willing to take those shots and make the plays. That’s the step that he’s taken in becoming the main focus.”

After scoring a career-high 40 factors within the Knicks’ win on Sunday, Kristaps Porzingis mentioned he is “very comfortable” because the staff’s No. 1 choice, including that he was motivated by Phil Jackson’s doubts about his readiness to be the focus on offense. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE through Getty Images

Porzingis scored 15 straight Knicks factors throughout one stretch between the third and fourth quarters on Sunday to badist New York come again from a 19-point deficit with 1:34 remaining within the third quarter. The 7-foot-Three ahead outscored Indiana by himself, 24-17, after the Pacers established the 19-point lead.

Porzingis added six blocks and eight rebounds and the Knicks outscored Indiana by 20 factors in his 38 minutes.

“He’s scratching the surface right now,” mentioned Courtney Lee, who in contrast Porzingis to Yao Ming whereas noting that the Knicks ahead is extra expert on the perimeter. “He’s still got a lot of room to improve and that’s the scary thing about him.”

After the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony in September, one of many largest questions heading into the season was how Porzingis would deal with life because the No. 1 choice on offense.

At his end-of-season information convention in April, then-team president Phil Jackson mentioned he did not suppose Porzingis was able to deal with the burden of being the face of the franchise and the focus on offense.

“No, I don’t [think he’s ready]. He’s 21 years old. That’s a big load for anybody to take on,” Jackson mentioned on the time. “But he’s shown that he’s competitive.”

Porzingis, who skipped his exit badembly with Jackson on the finish of season over frustration with the state of the franchise, mentioned on Sunday that Jackson’s remarks motivated him.

“Of course. The challenge is never too big for me,” Porzingis, 22, mentioned. “I always accept the challenge and that’s why I knew coming into this season [if] Melo was not going to be here, then I’m going to have to be that guy and that’s why I was just [spending] 24 hours in the gym. I was preparing for this, preparing myself physically, and I’m just happy that I’m capable of playing at this level right now.”

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