Kristaps Porzingis might be pretty, pretty, pretty good. The 7-foot phenom netted a career-high 35 points as the New York Knicks outshined the Detroit Pistons 105-102 at Madison Square Garden.
Porzingis was able to scorre in a variety of ways — post ups, transition dunks, dagger 3-pointers -- and any time he showed off even a sliver of his immense natural abilities he had New York City buzzing.
None of that energy transferred over to the Pistons, however, who again struggled on the road.
Porzingis is going to dominate the headlines and the highlight reels, but the real reason Detroit dropped this game was their absolute inability to rebound. The Pistons got outclassed on the boards, including a -11 on the offensive glass.
Andre Drummond returned after a one-game absence dealing with a bothersome ankle, and whether it was the injury or just not being completely plugged in (a recurring problem with Drummond), he struggled on the defensive end.
Nobody could contain Porzingis, but it was often Drummond who was forced either by necessity or poor decisionmaking to give up the last line of defense to try and stop Kristaps, Derrick Rose or Carmelo Anthony, and the Knicks made Drummond and Detroit pay.
Drummond was a -17 on the night and sat down the final seven minutes of the game as Stan Van Gundy, desparate for a spark, slotted Jon Leuer as a small-ball five to try and slow down Porzingis.
Dre finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Leuer had another strong game and is an obvious candidate for a minutes increase. Though he also got torched by Porzingis (see below), he continued to make himself available on offense and invariably found himself in the right place at the right time. Leuer finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Kentavous Caldwell-Pope chipped in 21 points but missed what would have been a game-tying 3 as time expired.
The Pistons record falls to 6-6 and they play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday hoping not to fall back below .500.
Now the highlight I promised you. Sorry, Jon Leuer ...