At 1-3, the Knicks are talking about needing to improve their defense going into Friday’s game against the Bulls in Cubs-mad Chicago.
They also need to remember who led them in scoring in their only win of the season: Kristaps Porzingis.
The second-year player was a forgotten man in Wednesday’s 118-99 loss to the Rockets at the Garden. Porzingis was 0-for-4 from the field and scored three points in 27:55.
“They were playing pretty tight defense on me,” he said. “Maybe I wasn’t in the right position or it just didn’t work out and teammates didn’t see me in some positions. It happens. Games like that happen where you don’t get touches. It’s one of those games, but I’ll watch film, learn from it and come back next game.”
Last Saturday, Porzingis led the team in scoring with 21 points In the Knicks’ only victory, a 111-104 win over Memphis.
Coach Jeff Hornacek said the Knicks have to remember that the 7-3 Porzingis can create mismatches and not just worry about his defensive failings against smaller players.
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting him the ball when he’s in a mismatch,’’ Hornacek said. “There were several times when he’s in an area on a smaller guy and we’re not necessarily looking for him. We’re kind of looking for the next thing. We’ve got to find that mismatch. Throw it up there and let him make a play on that. They were switching. A lot of times they had a 6-5, 6-6 guy on him and we have to take advantage of that.”
Speaking of Porzingis’ defense, Hornacek said: “The guy’s 7-3. He can do things that 6-7 guys can’t do in terms of blocking shots. And 6-7 guys can do things he can’t do, like closing out on guys. It’s going to be a balance who’s out there. He’s not used to guarding other guys that size. We try not to put him in situations like that.’’
Hornacek sat Porzingis for most of the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s loss in Detroit. That didn’t sit well with Porzingis, who said he thought he should have been on the floor.
“I believe so,’’ Porzingis said. “I don’t think my defense is bad. I’m a guy who can protect the rim . . . At any point of the game, I want to be on the floor and I want to help the team defensively and offensively.”