Kristaps Porzingis is flourishing as New York’s leading scoring option and looks to help the Knicks to their fourth consecutive victory when they visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. The 22-year-old Porzingis has scored 300 points so far and passed New York legend Bernard King (298) for the top season-opening 10-game stretch in franchise history.
Porzingis has been so superb that his 28-point effort in Tuesday’s 118-113 victory over Charlotte was his third-lowest output of the season. He became the focal point of the attack after Carmelo Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City but said he is much more concerned with halting the franchise’s four-season playoff drought than scoring tons of points and receiving accolades. “The sweetest thing for us, the best thing for us, would be to make the playoffs. This means nothing,” Porzingis told reporters afterward. “If we can keep winning and I’ll keep doing what I have to do, then the real reward will come.” Orlando got off to a strong 6-2 start but averaged just 85.5 points while falling to Chicago and Boston in the first two contests of its three-game homestand.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE KNICKS (6-4): Backup small forward Doug McDermott, who came over in the deal for Anthony, produced his best performance of the season in the win over Charlotte by scoring 20 points. McDermott made 7-of-8 shots - including each of his 3-point attempts - while reaching double digits for the fourth time this season. “Doug’s a beast,” forward Lance Thomas told reporters after watching the former college player of the year at Creighton take over with 10 fourth-quarter points. “He was doing this in practice. We know what he’s capable of doing, and he’s doing it.”
ABOUT THE MAGIC (6-4): Orlando may elect to hold out point guard Elfrid Payton (hamstring) for the ninth straight game while backup D.J. Augustin (hamstring) definitely will sit out his third consecutive contest. The absences have left journeyman Shelvin Mack as the lone point guard on the roster, and the Magic opted to start Jonathon Simmons during Sunday’s 104-88 loss to the Celtics. “Everyone can say we’re out of rhythm because we don’t have our two point guards in there, but (Simmons) is doing a good job,” coach Frank Vogel told reporters. “We were out of rhythm because Boston is a great defensive team. He does a great job there, Shelvin Mack does a great job there and I don’t think that’s an excuse for our guys.”
1. The Knicks have won four of the last five meetings.
2. Orlando SF Evan Fournier recorded just six points on 2-of-14 shooting against Boston after scoring 20 or more in eight of his first nine games.
3. New York C Enes Kanter, also acquired from Oklahoma City, has made 70 percent of his shots on four occasions after going 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) against the Hornets.
PREDICTION: Magic 101, Knicks 98