Kristaps Porzingis didn't bounce back in the way the New York Knicks hoped he would have following a 2-of-12 shooting performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he still managed to help the Knicks get a 106-98 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Porzingis shot 6-for-18 from the field and wasn't alone in his struggles, but simply couldn't get anything to fall no matter how often New York looked at him. (Granted, some overzealous foul calls against the Knicks prevented them from getting into a flow.) Despite Porzingis' off night, his teammates -- notably Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings -- picked him up at different points. As Porzingis struggled, head coach Jeff Hornacek kept him on the floor, and it was easy to see why.
Porzngis didn't need to score to be effective. As a young player, it's so important for him to rise up as a resilient performer. He didn't let the poor shooting night get the best of him. Instead, he arguably had the most aggressive rebounding effort of his young career. Grabbing 14 boards, Porzingis was very physical in the way he crashed the glass. The Kings have a strong front court, but the Knicks' rising star boxed out and limited second chance opportunities. His presence alone sparked New York's ability to get after it on the other hand.
Though DeMarcus Cousins (9-of-30 from the field) led all scorers with 36 points, there's no way he was as dominant as he could have been. New York could have easily gotten blown out in this one, but Porzingis was all over the NBA's third-leading scorer. Much like the Knicks aimed to do with Karl-Anthony Towns last week, Cousins had to work for his points. Porzingis was aggressive inside, swarming his opponent and coming up with four blocks underneath the basket.
Ironically enough, Porzingis wasn't completely lost on offense. When it mattered most, he come up in the clutch for a few buckets later in the contest. There's no doubt he remained level-headed and allowed his stronger defensive effort to propel his returning offense.
This was a big game for Porzingis' development because he proved not to get discouraged when things weren't going his way. Instead, he found other ways to contribute and still played a huge role in a victory. With so many other scoring options around him, Porzingis has the support to get picked up if necessary.