Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 40 points and Frank Ntilikina hit a go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter as the Knicks rallied from 19 points down in the second half to beat the Indiana Pacers 108-101 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Porzingis made 15 of 24 shots and recorded eight rebound and six blocks, as the Knicks won for the fifth time in their last six games.
Porzingis converted on a three-point play with 3:26 remaining to give New York a 97-96 lead, its first since the first quarter, but Indiana's Darren Collison responded with a 3-pointer. Porzingis answered with a 19-foot jumper with 2:14 remaining to tie the game, and on the Knicks' next possession, the rookie Ntilikina hit a go-ahead 3-pointer from the left wing to give New York a 102-99 lead.
Ntilikina followed with a steal of Collison, and Tim Hardaway Jr. recorded a layup to make it 104-99.
Ntilikina, the No. 8 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, recorded 10 points and seven assists, while Hardaway scored 16 points. Enes Kanter recorded nine points and 18 rebounds.
Thaddeus Young scored 18 points for the Pacers, while Collison had 15 points and 10 assists. Victor Oladipo added 17 points.
New York's future is bright with Kristaps Porzingis + Frank Ntilikina. Porzingis is playing like an MVP. Ntilikina is defending like a vet. pic.twitter.com/DdOPJMU5sm- Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 6, 2017
Not in KP's 🏡 pic.twitter.com/G41pyUWYAV- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 6, 2017
The Knicks led 21-20 midway through the first quarter but the Pacers ended the frame with a 13-4 run to lead 33-25. Indiana led 62-49 at halftime and took an 84-65 lead with 1:43 left in the third quarter.
Porzingis scored 15 points in the Knicks' 19-6 run that cut it to 90-84 with 9:22 remaining in the fourth.
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Where to start? The fourth quarter was an entirely different game than the first three. The Knicks could not stop the Pacers at all for a majority of the first three quarters. In the fourth, they showed so much heart and played lockdown defense to stifle Indiana. New York outscored the Pacers 36-17 in the fourth quarter, and Porzingis put on a show with his career-high 40.
How could the Knicks not be hyped up after that win? They showed "New York heart," as Porzingis said after the game. Not only was Porzingis just ridiculously good on offense, but he had six blocks on defense too. Right now, with seven 30-point games this season and the most points than any player in franchise history through the first nine games (Bernard King included), Porzingis is 100 percent an MVP candidate.
The Knicks have won five of their last six games and, at 5-4, look like an entirely different, confident team. It's been fun to watch new players step up every night. Lance Thomas was a huge contributor down the stretch, playing tight defense to help the Knicks rally and win this one. When someone struggles, someone else steps up. It's been a total team effort from top to bottom, and that 0-3 start has been forgotten.
The Knicks face the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m.