Though 20-year-old Kristaps Porzingis has impressed with how quickly he's been able to produce, the truth is that the 7-3 Latvian could do even more if he could figure out how to stay on the court.
In the five games before Friday night's 99-92 loss to the Bucks, he picked up five fouls in three and four in another. His five fouls against the Cavaliers in Wednesday night's loss limited him to 21 minutes, a pivotal factor in the Knicks' second-half fade in that game.
To which coach Derek Fisher says: Relax. Give the kid a chance. "It's only the sixth game of his career, essentially," he said. "I don't know if there's anything that we can say to him that's going to prepare him for facing the level of player he's facing night in and night out."
Porzingis has been something of a revelation, and the growing pains everyone expected have been all but absent. He got his second double-double Friday night -- 14 points and 13 rebounds in 28:04, along with only three fouls -- and he's averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.
"He's a smart player," Fisher said. "He picks up things pretty quickly on both ends of the ball, but the NBA is tough . . . He seems like he's going to be a guy that can defend multiple positions and then offensively do a number of things."
Afflalo remains out
Arron Afflalo again was held out with a strained left hamstring and might miss Sunday's game, he said. Afflalo said he participated in a five-on-five scrimmage in an optional practice Thursday but won't know if playing Sunday is feasible until Saturday's practice. "They still have to put me through some extreme tests . . . [but] I'll be out there within the week,'' he said. "I can't say Sunday.''