Porzingis scores 29, Knicks beat Hornets 102-94
NEW YORK (AP) The boos that thundered through Brooklyn in June have been replaced by a much sweeter sound at Madison Square Garden.
Rookie Kristaps Porzingis scored a season-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets 102-94 on Tuesday night.
Less than a week after he just missed beating the Hornets when his 3-pointer was ruled after the buzzer, Porzingis couldn't be denied by Charlotte defenders or the clock in the 20-year-old Latvian's biggest moment in the NBA.
''It's still a learning process for him but tonight was a big game, a big way to step up and take control of the game offensively, knock down shots, be aggressive out there, and I'm pretty sure it'll be the first of many,'' Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said.
Knicks fans weren't ready to embrace Porzingis on draft night, when boos rained through Barclays Center after the slender, 7-foot-3 forward was taken with the No. 4 pick. But they sure are ready now - maybe even quicker than the confident Porzingis imagined.
''Sooner or later, yeah. I wasn't expecting it to be right now,'' he said. ''But with the hype and being in New York City, it happens that quick.''
Anthony added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks. Arron Afflalo scored 16.
Kemba Walker scored a season-high 31 points for the Hornets, but reigning Eastern Conference player of the week Nicolas Batum had only one basket and four points.
Batum averaged 25.5 points last week, and one of the Hornets' victories came when they edged the Knicks 95-93 after video review waved off Porzingis' apparent winner.
Porzingis made both 3s he attempted in this one and all seven free throws.
''He made two 3s I believe and he was on the offensive glass against us tonight. He played great,'' Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.
The Hornets charged back behind Walker, a New Yorker who's had plenty of big nights here in high school and while playing for Connecticut, cutting it to four as the Knicks' offense stalled down the stretch.
But Anthony blocked Batum's 3-point attempt and former Knicks star Jeremy Lin shot an airball on another before Porzingis grabbed a rebound and was fouled, hitting both free throws to make it 100-94 with 11.3 seconds left.
''We missed shots, but we got some good-looking shots,'' Walker said. ''We got it down to four, but unfortunately they just didn't drop.''
Lin finished with 13 points but Charlotte had its four-game winning streak over the Knicks snapped.
Hornets: Starting forward P.J. Hairston missed the game with a bruised right thigh and might be out a couple of games. Clifford said he thought there was ''no chance'' Hairston would return Wednesday, adding that the second-year player ''tried to do some stuff today and he's not even close.'' ... F Marvin Williams was ejected for flagrantly fouling Lou Amundson in the fourth quarter.
Knicks: The team wore uniforms it used from 1953-61, with alternating orange-and-blue trim around the neck and vertically along the sides of the jerseys and shorts. They did have player names on the back, which weren't on the originals.
STILL LOVING LIN
Not surprisingly, former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni gave a strong endorsement when Charlotte was considering signing Lin. D'Antoni worked with Clifford with the Lakers after his time in New York, and Clifford said D'Antoni loved Lin. ''When we were with the Lakers, Mike was always saying if there was any way to get Jeremy Lin we should try to do it,'' Clifford said. ''So, oh yeah, he's a huge fan.''
CENTERS OF ATTENTION
Knicks fans love Porzingis, but the two biggest ovations might have been for guys who weren't even playing. Hall of Fame center Willis Reed, who led the Knicks to two championships, was sitting courtside, and Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, now Charlotte's associate head coach, got huge applause after a third-quarter video tribute.
After playing seven of their first 11 on the road - following a preseason trip to China - the Hornets will finally get some time at home. They open a seven-game homestand Wednesday and don't have another road game until Dec. 5.
Hornets: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Knicks: Visit Oklahoma City on Friday.
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