MILWAUKEE — A little more than a month ago, Knicks fans were eagerly anticipating seeing Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis go head-to-head at Madison Square Garden.
Plenty of comparisons were being made between the two young European forwards, with fans debating which player would be the better to build a team around.
Their paths crossed underneath the basket in the second quarter of that Feb. 6 game. Porzingis drove and dunked on Antetokounmpo, then fell to the floor clutching his knee. A week later, he underwent season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Fast-forward to Friday night’s game between the Bucks and the Knicks in Milwaukee. The Bucks, led by Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.2 points, are looking at making the playoffs for the second straight year. And the Knicks? They have lost 14 of their last 15.
Though it originally was thought that Porzingis fell after stepping on Antetokounmpo’s foot, Antetokounmpo does not remember it happening that way.
“I don’t know if he stepped on my foot,” he said. “I think he lost his balance . . . and didn’t land properly. I don’t think he stepped on my foot.”
The Greek Freak said he felt awful when he heard the news that the injury had ended Porzingis’ season.
“Of course, not just about the Kristaps Porzingis incident, but I feel bad about anyone who gets injured,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s one of the toughest moments for the athlete. As you know, Kris is a really good player, big talent. The league is going to be a lot better when he comes back.
“Hopefully, he can take his time, recover fully and we’ll all be ready for him and we’ll be really happy when he comes back.”