Porzingis eager to get payback versus Celtics

NBA.com Global on Dec 22, 2017 05:24 AM
Porzingis eager to get payback versus Celtics
FILE - NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 20: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks is introduced prior to the game against the LA Clippers on November 20, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

Kristaps Porzingis has a long memory. So it's not lost on the New York Knicks' star what's at stake on the big stage today with the Boston Celtics visiting Madison Square Garden. He had his worst shooting performance of the season against these Celtics in the first week of the season. That's why he doesn't want to miss this opportunity to be on the court for this matchup.

Porzingis needs an assist from the medical staff to get in the mix. He went through a full practice Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) and said his sore knee is "100 percent." But there is still some uncertainty as to whether or not he'll be back after missing the Knicks' last two games with knee soreness. If he is out there, Porzingis insists the Celtics won't fool him again, writes Zach Braziller of the New York Post:

The Knicks could certainly use him against the Celtics (26-7) and coach Brad Stevens. In the first meeting on Oct. 24, Boston manhandled the Knicks, 110-89, and Porzingis shot just 3-of-14. He has struggled in his career against the Celtics, averaging 14.8 points in nine games while shooting 42 percent from the field. Center Al Horford frustrated Porzingis in that first game, and physical guard Marcus Smart has been used on him in the past as well.

“It’ll probably be similar to what they did the first game,” Porzingis said of the Celtics’ approach against him. “It was pretty hard for me. They were physical. All those switches and mixing it up all the time. That was something I saw for the first time. Maybe it’s going to be something different this time. But I think I’ve pretty much seen more or less all types of defenses.

“I’m learning them as I go, learning and studying and growing. But [Stevens’] mind is always on how to make it uncomfortable for the offensive player. … They do a pretty good job on me.”

The Knicks are a different team now then when they first saw the Celtics. Since the loss, they are 16-11, and they will be at home Thursday, where they are 14-5, the second-most wins of any team in its own building after the Spurs, who are 15-2.

“We’ve grown a lot,” Porzingis said. “I think we’ve grown a lot and I think we still have a lot of growing to do. We’re on the right track. Even without [injured guard] Tim [Hardaway Jr.] we’re getting better.”

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