GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The most exciting six seconds at Madison Square Garden in years. Or at least that’s how Kristaps Porzingis’ fourth-quarter block-and-dunk against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night is being portrayed in the hyperbolic, live-in-the-moment world of social media.
Porzingis acknowledged that he had looked at the video a few times since Friday night, reliving the moment when he brought the Garden to its feet by swatting Josh Jackson’s layup attempt in transition, racing upcourt and ferociously throwing down a bounce pass from Jarrett Jack.
“Yeah, I watched it on social media,” Porzingis said after the Knicks’ practice on Saturday. “I’ve got a lot of people congratulating me, congratulating me for getting the win. That’s the most important.
“I’m just playing my game, and those highlights are going to come if I keep playing aggressive and keep playing hard. Most important, it’s about winning games.’’
The Knicks (4-4) head into Sunday night’s game at the Garden against the Pacers having won four of their last five games. Porzingis, who had 37 points against the Suns, has scored at least 30 six times this season. He currently has the most 30-point games in the league.
Porzingis is averaging 29.0 points, which is third on the NBA scoring list. The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the league with 31.0 points per game and the Cavaliers’ LeBron James is averaging 29.1.
Porzingis practiced on a limited basis Saturday because of a sore ankle that he said he tweaked when he went up for a rebound. He and coach Jeff Hornacek painted the injury as something minor and said he is expected to play Sunday.
After Friday night’s game, Suns center Tyson Chandler, a former Knick, said Porzingis has a chance to be the best player in the league.
“Why not?” Hornacek said. “When you’re 7-3 and have the skills that he has and doing it on both sides of the ball, you’re going to be put up as one of the best players in the league. KP has that drive. Not a lot of guys have that drive. If they do, they don’t want to put in the effort to get there. He does. He’s worked hard in the summer. He’s so young, he’s going to get better and better.’’
Porzingis, 22, said he is encouraged by what he’s seen from the Knicks in their first eight games. Though fans may have entered the season thinking about getting a lottery pick in June and continuing to build the team, he has something else in mind.
Mike D’Antoni sees franchise in Kristaps PorzingisRockets coach says, ‘There’s no way you can stop him because of his length and skill.’
“That’s not how I look at it,” Porzingis said. “We want to win as many games as we can. [Playing for the lottery] is not how I think it’s right. I think we have a good enough team to make the playoffs. I didn’t make the playoffs my first two years. This year, if we can do it, it would take a step forward. We want to keep building. That step forward will draw more attention to the team and we can keep building also.”
For now, Porzingis is doing all he can to draw attention. When he was asked Saturday about his block and dunk being called the most exciting thing to happen at the Garden in years, he smiled.
“There’s a lot of exciting stuff going on there outside of basketball,” he said. “I’m not sure you can say that. That was one of the loudest I’ve heard Madison Square Garden in a long time in my three years.”