Kristaps Porzingis still was feeling the effects of his stomach virus, but what happened on the court Wednesday night was enough to make other Knicks sick.
Carmelo Anthony wondered where the Knicks’ fight and heart were during their 121-85 loss to the Warriors. Golden State took the fight out of them with Stephen Curry putting on a shooting show. But Porzingis was feeling badly about his own play and did something about it.
Rather than sit on the bench with a towel over his head, waiting for the game to end, Porzingis told interim coach Kurt Rambis he wanted to stay in the game.
Porzingis was fatigued, had trouble breathing and didn’t have much energy after the stomach illness knocked him out for a few days and sapped his strength. Porzingis wanted to fight through it to try and get his wind back.
“I admire him for that,” Rambis said. “But he was really tired out there. You could see he was struggling. Coming back from this illness he wasn’t ready to play.”
Porzingis’ first shot of the game, a jumper, was blocked by Draymond Green, and things didn’t improve after that. He shot just 1-for-11 and scored two points in 26 minutes. He was 0-for-8 and scoreless in 16 second-half minutes.
In the end, Porzingis said he probably shouldn’t have played. But it bothered him that he missed Sunday’s last-second win over the Lakers and he just wanted to try and help the Knicks against the NBA champions.
Porzingis is only 20, but he’s a competitor. It’s one of the many things the Knicks love about him. He wants to play and finish out his rookie season strong.
But it has been a rough stretch for Porzingis. Even before this illness, it appeared he hit the rookie wall. Team president Phil Jackson said as much last week, although Porzingis says he’s just trying to find how to be consistent.
“I try to go game by game,” he said. “I had a decent game [Friday] against the Clippers. That’s the level I want to play at. [This] was a bad one again.
“Maybe it breaks up the rhythm a little bit. You miss one game, you come back, you try to do too much maybe and it just doesn’t go your way. Now I’m trying to get back and focus on the next game, prepare for the next game and go game by game and hopefully finish the season strong.”
Porzingis was the East Rookie of the Month for November, December, and January. But his play has tailed off, as well as his activity on both ends of floor. Porzingis hasn’t had the same pop, and his productivity has dropped.
He didn’t win Rookie of the Month for February and unless he has a good finish to March, likely won’t get it this month, either.
Porzingis is averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds with 18 double-doubles. But he hasn’t had one since Feb. 7, a span of 13 games. In his last seven games, Porzingis is averaging 11.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and is shooting 30.2 percent from the field.
He played professionally in Spain the last few years, but never this many games or minutes and it’s wearing on him.
“It’s a tough schedule for sure, but it’s a short period,” he said. “Those 5½ regular-season months you really need to be locked in, give your all. That’s what I’m thinking. I don’t want to finish the season with regret and then have five months of offseason. I want to give my all and then when the offseason starts put in my work and prepare myself for next season.”
Notes & quotes: When the Knicks resume this six-game road trip Saturday against the Wizards, Anthony hopes they show more fight than they did against the Warriors. “Even though we lost, got our butt kicked, I hope this is not an indication of where we are as a team,” he said. “I hope this is not an indication of where we are as a team and we can bounce back and show the real team that we are and how we play against the Wizards coming up.”