Kristaps Porzingis shoots career high 25 FGAs in first game without Carmelo

It’s a new era in New York, For the first time in seven years, the Knicks didn’t have Carmelo Anthony on their roster. After several tumultuous seasons and a especially-weird 2017 where Phil Jackson took it upon himself to go public with his infamous mental warfare, the Knicks finally dealt the oft-criticized star to the Oklahoma City. In return the Knicks got a talented, but one of the worst defensive liabilities in the league in Enes Kanter, as well as Doug McDermott, and a second round draft pick.

Without Carmelo, it was clear which player the Knicks would be led by and that’s Kristaps Porzingis. With his length, athleticism, and ability to shoot, he’s such a rare player that he was labeled a “basketball unicorn” by another unicorn-type player in Kevin Durant.


No longer in  Hoodie Melo’s shadow, the third-year Porzingis took on the challenge and wasted no time taking on the leading man role for the new look Knicks team. He showed the league what he had in store for them; scoring 31 points for just his fourth 30-point game of his three-year career and shooting a career high 25 field goal attempts. Catch come of Porzingis’ video highlights that compiled below:

In typical KP fashion, he scored on a variety of ways — shooting threes, attacking the basket, mid-range jumpers and running the break, but he was different — he was much more aggressive in attacking, shooting and calling for the ball. Even with his 31 points and 12 rebounds, it wasn’t enough against the Oklahoma City Thunders new “OK3” — the Knicks lost 105-84 behind  Russell Westbrook (21 points, 16 assists, 10 rebounds), Paul George (28  points), and Anthony’s 22 points. Porzingis will need scoring help from new additions Kanter, McDermott, Jarrett Jack and Tim Hardaway Jr..


Empowered Porzingis Takes Career High FGA

Make no bones about it, Porzingis was empowered because Anthony wasn’t in a New York Knicks jersey. How do we know that? Porzingis’ 25 field goal attempts last night was a career high. In fact, last night was the first time that Porzingis had attempted more than his previous career-high of 23 shots during his three year career. In the two years the two shared a court (2015-16, 2016-17), Melo shot 24 or more times twenty-three times.

They said the right things when asked about one another in the media, but no matter what the two had said in the past, it was clear on the court that Anthony had a hard time learning to defer and that Porzingis clearly wanted to respect Anthony.  That’s no longer the case with the two on separate teams now.

“I always have the highest expectations for myself,” Porzingis said. “I’m my own critic always in situations where I’m not playing well. There’s nothing I will hear that will surprise me from the fans or whatever.”

If last night’s season debut was any indication, this is going to be a breakout year for the 7-2 Latvian.

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