In a battle of rookie sensations, the Timberwolves seemed to have Kristaps Porzingis' number on the offensive end. The Knicks took an early and comfortable lead in the first half, clearly looking like a superior team. But as Karl-Anthony Towns began to heat up to start the third quarter, a twenty-point lead dwindled down to single digits, and Minnesota began to put the pressure on.
But luckily for Porzingis, this game was undeniably about a group effort, as a plethora of his teammates came to play in different ways. As Carmelo Anthony struggled to get high-percentagte looks, he crashed the boards with abandon and fought for opportunities, be it for himself or his teammates. The star missed a triple-double by one assist. What's more, Arron Afflalo had himself a dominant night on the offensive end, confidently hitting shots from deep, cashing in on his bread and butter buckets from the corners, and effectively attacking the basket to get to the line. Pouring in a game-high 29 points, he did it all.
And then there was Porzingis, who while struggling from the field, led one of the most spirited defensive efforts from New York all season long. He made his presence felt in another way. Towns' struggles early on and the opponent's inability to find an offensive rhythm was largely in part due to Porzingis, who was all over the place pestering players underneath the basket. His seven blocks tied his own Knicks' rookie record.