MIAMI — Kristaps Porzingis had a memorable night, although he probably would like to forget some of the things that happened.
He scored 12 points in the Knicks’ 98-90 win and blocked two layups, but he also missed a slam, and was dunked on twice.
“I got to work on that,” the rookie said. “I can’t be missing those dunks.”
It was a wild second half for Porzingis, but he showed resilience.
In the third quarter, he denied a Luol Deng shot at the rim, leading to a fastbreak. Porzingis cut to the basket and went up for a dunk but it rattled out and Deng got an uncontested slam on the other end.
Dwyane Wade froze Porzingis with a crossover and got to the basket. But Porzingis recovered and stuffed Wade inside.
In the final minute of the third, Chris Bosh drove and dunked over Porzingis, one possession after being called for an offensive foul on the rookie. Porzingis came down and converted a lob.
“He got me,” Porzingis said. “He dunked on me. That’s what happens when you try to block every shot. If you want to be a good shot blocker you’re going to get dunked on every once in a while.”
Hassan Whiteside dunked on Porzingis in the fourth and glared at him. But all that matters to Porzingis is the Knicks won.
“My own individual success and everybody else’s individual success is No. 2 in this locker room,” he said. “Always it’s the team first.”
Porzingis said that he and Atlanta small forward Kent Bazemore were “face-to-face,” during a heated moment late in Tuesday’s win. It was more like face-to-chest.
Bazemore got into Porzingis but he was looking up at him and the 7-3 rookie didn’t back down. He earned his first technical of the season, and perhaps some additional respect from his teammates.
“We’re going to do something about that tech, try to help him out a little bit,” Anthony said, alluding to the NBA fine for technical fouls. “He showed some grit out there. Somebody walks up into your chest you stand your ground. That’s what he did.”
Derek Fisher has shortened his rotation lately to nine players after going 12 deep earlier this season. He believes a shorter rotation lets players to get in “better rhythm.”
The biggest change has been using Porzingis at center with the second unit. Fisher ended up playing 10 in the first quarter. Kyle O’Quinn entered after Porzingis, playing with the four subs, picked up his second foul.