Kristaps Porzingis probably wasn’t going to average exactly 30 points per game all season.
That’s what he did in the first 10 games, but reality has set in lately, and it hit him with a thud on Friday night in Toronto. Porzingis shot 3-for-13 and scored 13 points as the Knicks lost to the Raptors, 107-84.
The alarming fact for the Knicks is that even that meager point output was enough for Porzingis to share the team lead for the night with Tim Hardaway Jr., who left the game in the third quarter with a sore left foot (X-rays were negative).
“Well, maybe we all got spoiled,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Guys aren’t going to go 14-for-23 every game. He was shooting the lights out early on [in the season]. But teams are playing it a little bit differently. Sometimes they’re doubling . . . But some nights you’re going to make shots. Other nights you’re not. He still draws a lot of attention, which helps our other guys.”
It didn’t help the other guys on Friday. Porzingis was the focus of the offense, and the offense wasn’t good.
“We ran some pick-and-rolls and we needed to get him the ball quicker in those rolls,” Hornacek said. “We were kind of taking a couple extra dribbles and then trying to get it to him, but by then the defense was collapsing. We didn’t do a great job of that. When you’re not making shots, we need all our guys to step up and do something different. Get a steal, get a block. Overall, our whole team didn’t do that.”
The Knicks (8-7) next play on Monday at home against the Clippers, who have lost eight games in a row. The Knicks are 7-3 at the Garden and 1-4 on the road.
Porzingis averaged 17.3 points and shot 33.9 percent in the last three games. The good news for the Knicks is that he wasn’t down after Friday’s game and said he isn’t concerned about his personal numbers.
“I think the last couple of games, there have been more double-teams coming at me and I had to make the pass and I had to make the right decision,” Porzingis said. “Part of it is that and part of it is also just me missing shots . . . As long as we’re capable of playing good basketball, winning games, then I’m happy with whatever my numbers are. If we win the game, obviously. That’s the last thing I should be worried about if we’re winning games. There are going to be all kinds of different nights. If we play good basketball and I make the right play, make the right decision, and that benefits the team. If it’s passing that benefits the team, then I’m going to keep doing that. Whatever it takes to win games.”
PLENTY OF ZING
Friday was only the third time this season that Kristaps Porzingis, averaging 26.3 points over 14 games, failed to score at least 20 points. The breakdown:
Under 20 — 3 times
20-29 — 3 times
30-39 — 7 times
40 — once