The Knicks lost a meaningless February home game against Milwaukee, but a scary fall incurred by Porzingis in the second quarter snatched the air out of the Garden as New York waited on bated breath for an injury update to the franchise star.
The New York Knicks (23–31) lost against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (30–23) on Tuesday night, but tomorrow’s headline in ink will undoubtedly announce the grim and sudden injury to Kristaps Porzingis.
With 8:50 remaining in the second quarter, Porzingis found space in the paint and received a bounce pass from Kyle O’Quinn, ferociously throwing down a dunk on Antetokounmpo, but contact with the Greek Freak led to an awkward fall for Porzingis, whose knee buckled on the baseline.
A better look:
Nothing graphic, but an awkward landing for sure.
Get well soon, Kristaps. pic.twitter.com/uLNrAoRpFM
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 7, 2018
The oxygen in the Garden abruptly left the building, with fans on pins and needles worrying about the possible severity of the franchise’s biggest player. Porzingis required assistance to help the All-Star to the locker room, with little ability to put pressure on the left leg.
The remainder of the half saw a somewhat reinvigorated Tim Hardaway Jr. make four field goals (after missing four shots in the first quarter), but the Knicks could not cope with Bledsoe and Jabari Parker in attack mode without the top gun Porzingis. A 50–46 halftime deficit represented a reasonable gap to overcome, but the Knicks were lifeless while the balance of the team’s season hung in uncertainty.
Michael Beasley, he of Walking Bucket nomenclature, started in place of the injured Porzingis in the second half. Beasley did not have the touch, though, finishing with nine points on 3-of-11 from the field and five ghastly turnovers.
Antetokounmpo v. Porzingis
Giannis, crown prince of Knicks annihilation, has already accumulated two backbreaking daggers into the Knicks in the last calendar year. First, an unguardable fadeaway 16 feet away from the basket while defended by New York’s Lance Thomas. Second, on Friday, February 2, Giannis abused the mismatch of Kanter and gracefully sunk the Knicks in the final seconds of a tight contest.
At 23 years young, Antetokounmpo is the heralded leader of the Bucks. He has taken a huge leap in 2017–18, but on Tuesday night Porzingis had the better of him until the heart-stopping injury.
KP blocked Giannis twice and slammed a mean dunk side-saddled by the Greek Freak. However, due to the lost balanced with minimal contact with Antetokounmpo, what appeared to be a fun night with a unicorn duel was for naught as Porzingis’ injury will be imprinted into the minds of NBA aficionados.
It was all Milwaukee in the second half, buoyed by the star performance of Antetokounmpo.
Giannis’ impact on the game is so immense, however, I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this dunk. Sorry, Timmy:
Giannis Antetokounmpo just hurtled over a 6'6" human like us mere mortals stepping over a puddle pic.twitter.com/4tks5c4gPd
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) February 7, 2018
The Knicks made a valiant, yet impossible, effort to get back into Tuesday’s contest, but the long limbs of Giannis pushes the ‘Bockers aside with their fourth consecutive defeat, a final score of 103–89.
- Tuesday’s match unceremoniously began with: tip-off and clock malfunction that suspended play for a couple of minutes; Porzingis fouled in first possession, missed both free throws; a Bucks possession defended well by New York, which led to a Milwaukee turnover and another clock malfunction; Porzingis going 1-for-2 from the line the next possession, and Bledsoe converting a three-point play on the other end; Porzingis blocking Bledsoe before New York couldn’t secure the rebound, which led to a Middleton three. Fewer than four minutes of playtime stretched over ten minutes and I want my life back. Nevertheless, nobody could predict how worse the night could go.
- Courtney Lee, a valuable glue guy (and co-captain) for this Knicks team is a bad body language guy. It is what it is. Lee is your barometer for how the Knicks are doing in games. Watch his body language if you want to know if the Knicks are feeling confident, or much more likely, feeling embarrassed and disheartened. On Tuesday, there was a palpable moment when Lee returned to the bench in the third quarter, visibly stricken with grief and wiping sweat from his brow while the Bucks’ lead grew to 20.
- Trey Burke had more run on Tuesday. I enjoy the spot minutes of Burke, however, in the second half, head coach Jeff Hornacek went to Burke before rookie Frank Ntilikina, a move that didn’t sit well with me considering the burn Frank needs if he is going to overcome the hurdles Hornacek and the coaching staff explained are blocking him from taking the next step.
- More minutes for second-round pick Damyean Dotson tonight: Dotson is a player who undoubtedly leaves an imprint while on the court. You can see this with his hands on loose balls or a drive and kick ability leading to scoring chances for his teammates.
- Willy Hernangómez, of trade rumors circulation, checked into the match with 1:49 left.
- “Painful” is the only way to describe the Knicks on Tuesday. After KP went down, there were moments where Enes Kanter shook off various injuries, like an aching back and a busted up lip. Later, Courtney Lee was shaken up and grabbing his hand. Even Hardaway Jr. felt a Charley horse of sorts with a kick re-aggrevating his leg injury. Giannis hurt the Knicks tonight, in more ways than one.
A terrible night for New York, with the ambiguity of Porzingis’ injury still fresh in the minds of every member of the Knicks organization. Scary stuff for a franchise betting on the success of their young unicorn.