BOSTON — Celtics coach Brad Stevens thinks Kristaps Porzingis can be a “special” player.
Porzingis arguably has been the second-best rookie in the NBA behind Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, and Stevens effusively praised him before Sunday night’s game.
“[He] shoots the ball, handles the ball, catches three lobs a game, looks like he can be a really versatile defender, can protect the rim,” Stevens said. “He’s got a chance to be special. Not very many people have a chance to be special. He does.”
Stevens called the Knicks “one of the more physical teams” Boston has played, saying they “really manhandled us” in the first preseason game (although the Knicks haven’t played very physically since then). He pointed out that the Knicks can post up at multiple positions.
He also said that with all the attention Carmelo Anthony, Porzingis and even Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo have received, the “emergence” of Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas has been “under-discussed.”
“Those guys are really playing well,” Stevens said. “It’s a credit to them, their level of improvement.”
More than adjustments
Derek Fisher said he didn’t read anything into Anthony saying the Knicks have to do a better job “adjusting to the adjustments” after they fell apart in the second half Saturday night in Atlanta. “Everybody’s entitled to their opinions and feelings after games,” Fisher said. “Guys have feelings about what happened. Adjustments are one thing in terms of coverages, strategies, et cetera. But there’s still a basketball game being played out there that doesn’t have anything to do with that. Those are the areas we’re still continuing to learn and grow.
“That only gets you to a certain point, and from there you have to go out and make plays. Collectively, we’re working through that, but we’ll get there.”
Celtics point guard Marcus Smart returned after missing the previous 18 games with a left knee injury. He was brought off the bench and was on a minutes restriction . . . Knicks reserve big man Lou Amundson was unavailable for the second straight game because of back spasms . . . Former Knick David Lee sat out with a sore lower back.