Knicks star F Kristaps Porzingis had Madison Square Garden on its feet the entire night as he poured in 37 points in the 120-107 win over the Suns.
Porzingis was on fire from the opening tip, draining everything he put in the air. But it was a sequence in the fourth quarter that had The Garden buzzing. After a steal, Suns F Josh Jackson sprinted down the court and put up a shot only to find Porzingis rushing back and swatting it away. Courtney Lee scooped it up, passed it off to Jarrett Jack in transition, and Jack found Porzingis sprinting down the court.
Porzingis, all in one motion, caught the bounce pass and flushed a dunk as he absorbed contact for an and-one. It was the cherry on top to another brilliant night by Porzingis.
"I loved that play," Porzingis told The Daily News. "Honestly, just the energy that was in the Garden at the moment, it was unbelievable. I had to calm myself down to knock down the free throw."
🦄 things are happening... pic.twitter.com/FPea0ZEB4B- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 4, 2017
His 37 points was the sixth time in eight games he has amassed over 30 points. Porzingis' hot start to the season has impressed many, including Suns C Tyson Chandler.
"Porzingis is special," the former Knick said. "He has a chance to be the best player in this league."
Porzingis is up high on the leaderboards so far this season as he is tied third in points scored per game (29). The 7-foot-3 star is the focal point of the Knicks with Carmelo Anthony gone, and a young team surrounding him. He is the face of the franchise now, and his play is certainly developing to earn that title.
"I'm getting better as a player. I can feel that," Porzingis said. "I can read more things. The game slows down for me a little bit. I'm learning how to draw more fouls, which is important to get to the line.
"I'm growing as a player and I think that's helping the team."
Head coach Jeff Hornacek loves that Porzingis has taken charge to start the season, and it showed when he dropped 10 points in just under the first seven minutes of the game. His coach says his play is developing nicely as well.
"He's a force in there," Hornacek said. "He's just taking his time. He knows and realizes he can shoot over the top of people, and he's not trying to do too much...I think the game has slowed down for him. He realizes it."
Porzingis has been hearing "M-V-P" chants from the Knicks faithful throughout his breakout performances, including last night. With Chandler's comments on his potential to be the best in the league, Porzingis likes to hear those words. However, he is foucsed on just playing his game and getting wins for the team.
"I don't really care about that that much. All I need is the respect from refs to get those calls," Porzingis said jokingly. "I'm just playing basketball.
"But it's nice to hear those kind of words from a (former NBA) Defensive Player of the Year. It's nice to hear."
Porzingis finished 13-for-22 from the field, 10-for-13 from the free throw line, and totaled seven rebounds and three blocks on Friday night.