HOUSTON — Kristaps Porzingis’ goal of playing every game this season ended Saturday night because of soreness in his left Achilles. Now he hopes that’s the only game he misses.
Porzingis said his Achilles has been bothering him since after the Knicks’ Christmas Day game. He played in the first two games of this road trip and said it bothered him in each, then worsened and was “sensitive” after Friday night’s loss in New Orleans.
He said he felt it as soon as he woke up Saturday and that it was “sore and tight.” He didn’t want to risk doing further damage by playing in the final game of 2016 on Saturday night against the Rockets.
“Not too worried, just a little soreness,” said Porzingis, who added that he hasn’t had an MRI. “Keep doing treatment and ice, all that stuff, and I think it will go away pretty soon.”
Porzingis said it bothered him with each step he took Saturday but that he hopes to return Monday night at the Garden when the Knicks face Orlando.
Jeff Hornacek believes it’s not that serious and that the Knicks need to be cautious.
“When he got up this morning, it was tough to step up on,” Hornacek said. “I don’t think it’s a tear or anything like that. I think it’s just a strain.
“Back-to-back games, sometimes when it’s sore like that, you have to be a little careful, especially someone who’s as young as KP and as tall.”
Porzingis shot 8-for-20 in the Knicks’ loss to the Pelicans but didn’t think the Achilles affected him.
He is frustrated about not being able to play in all 82 games this season. “But at the same time, I have to be smart,” Porzingis said. “It’s not like I’m going to win a medal for playing 82 games. But I want to help my team every game.
“When things like this happen, I think it’s better for me to get ready for the next game rather than try to go all 82 and not be able to play 100 percent.”
A different look
Hornacek said he expected Joakim Noah to bounce back after being benched for the final 20:43 of Friday night’s game. Hornacek wanted to see how Porzingis would do against Anthony Davis after Noah struggled.
“They were small,” Hornacek said. “We have a lot of centers. There’s going to be nights we want to try KP at the five. We thought that could be a decent matchup with Davis. He’ll bounce back. He’s been playing well lately. I don’t think there’s any problem.”
Former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, who didn’t see eye-to- eye with Carmelo Anthony, evaded a question about George Karl’s new book by bringing up his father, Louis. He celebrated his 103rd birthday Saturday. When asked what his dad taught him, D’Antoni said, “How to stay alive.” . . . . D’Antoni also had this line when asked if the Knicks are running less triangle: “The triangle could hit me upside the head, I wouldn’t know what it was anyway.”