Editor’s Note: Following Friday’s far-too-nerve-racking win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Knickerblogger was given exclusive access to rookie sensation and newly crowned Latvian Dictator for Life Kristaps Porzingis. By “exclusive,” of course, we mean “a battalion of Knicks PR supervised the interview with sniper rifles trained on my skull at all times.” Nevertheless, we were able to translate Zinger’s PR-savvy English — solid as it was — into Latvian, and then back into English again. The result is an unfiltered account of New York’s hair-raising win, from the perspective of the franchise’s once and future savior.
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 35 MIN | 9-20 FG | 1-3 3FG | 6-8 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 25 PTS | -1 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Melo’s a great player. He was a little streaky today, but got baskets when we needed them the most. I think he had 15 points in the first half? Anyway, he had a nasty baseline spin for a dunk in the third quarter, hit another turnaround. Probably wasn’t his best game, but he came through when we needed him.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Sometimes when I’m carrying the team’s laundry, Melo will run up from behind and jump on the bag so the strap buckles my shoulder and I collapse into a heap of bones. This is what makes him a leader. That, and our secret handshake, which entails the two of us facing one another, jumping up once in unison, and him smacking me across the face as hard as he can. I enjoy this bonding.
|Robin Lopez, C 33 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 6 TO | 7 PTS | 0 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: I think RoLo struggled a little bit tonight. He gave us those two huge free throws, obviously, and a few big rebounds. I’m not sure what happened on that inbounds to Jose, but he’s a big part of our team and will continue to be. Plus he breeds gerbils in his hair.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Robin is the only person I’ve ever met who has a stack of comic books exclusively for the shitter. There were a few times tonight when I was convinced he was on Quaaludes. I haven’t seen such terrible hands since my uncle Karis drank the whole bowl of vodka and raisin punch at the Porzingis family reunion and tried to catch the arrows in "archery chicken," which is exactly what it sounds like.
|Jose Calderon, PG 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -5 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Jose was efficient, you know? He’s been around a long time and knows what the team needs. He hit his shots when he had them, and didn’t let Westbrook get to his spots too easily. Another guy I really admire.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Do any of you know how old Jose actually is? He’s 44. He got drunk one night and showed me his birth certificate. He thinks he’s pulled this elaborate scam. It’s remarkable, really, this 44-year-old point guard still holding down the fort. He also has a uniquely old-school approach to hazing: just straight up taking my money at gun point, then cackling.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +4 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: A-ron-ron is a pro, you know?. Came up with huge baskets throughout the game, played some good D on Westbrook down the stretch. He just brings stability on both sides of the floor, and I think we all trust him. Melo especially.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Sometimes when Arron shoots the trajectory is so low I’m afraid it’s going to hit me in the eyes. You think Melo’s hazing is bad? You know what Afflalo made me buy for him at the store and deliver to his house the other day? Douchebags. Actual douchebags. “At least four different varieties,” he told me. “Or I’ll tattoo my name on your ass with a Bic pen and a lighter.”
|Kevin Seraphin, PF 11 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: When Kevin gets into rhythm, he’s really hard to stop. I think Fish had some ideas about the rotation and that’s why Kevin didn’t see much time. But he’s so skilled on offense. I can learn a lot from him.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: If there’s one thing that Kevin Seraphin has taught me about being an NBA player, it's that whenever you can heave a 19-foot jump hook with your man so close to your face you can smell his tongue, you gotta do it.
|Andrea Bargnani, PF
42 MIN | 9-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +4
Aw, go twirl a cattle prod.
|Derrick Williams, PF 16 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-3 3FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +1 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Again, another guy who’s instant energy—can do a lot of things. I know how hungry he is to make a statement, and sometimes he can get a little fast. But hit some big shots when we needed them, for sure.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Oftentimes, after a practice or game, when we’re all sitting in the locker room, I’ll look over and see four or five of Derrick’s dreadlocks playing poker. Then as soon as they see me they all just throw their cards and flop down like nothing happened. All anyone else ever sees are playing cards falling from D-Will’s head for no reason at all. But I know. I’ve seen.
|Kyle O'Quinn, PF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: I think Kyle’s struggled a bit lately, and that’s probably why he didn’t see much playing time tonight. But he’s such a talented player. He’s so versatile. He’ll figure it out.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Kyle O’Quinn haunts my dreams, often appearing as an axe-wielding centaur with wild eyes and blood in his beard. I’m assuming this is related to his parting words to me always being, “I am an axe-wielding centaur with wild eyes and blood in my beard. You will never sleep again.”
|Lance Thomas, SF 20 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +5 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: What can you say? A veteran guy who’s worked so hard on his game—he came up with some huge plays tonight. That dunk off Gallo’s steal, a big three during our third-quarter run. He does whatever it takes, and I respect that.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: Aside from spraying me with mace before I get in my car after practice, Lance has actually been pretty good to me.
|Langston Galloway, PG 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | -1 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: I thought Gallo played really well when he was in there. Hit a few shots, was really active on D. I think he had four steals? Not really sure why coach kept him on the bench, but that’s the way it went.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: I’m assuming Galloway pissed in Fisher’s salad crisper, because there’s literally no other explanation for his only logging 14 minutes. He’s the best guard on this team, and it’s not even close. Perhaps he had a glass shard lodged in his spine, or was vomiting so much from the flu his teeth started falling out. I’d still have his children.
|Jerian Grant, PG 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-1 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +8 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: He’s gonna be special, man. I’m looking forward to spending my career with him. I think we were all happy to see him hit that three after all of his struggles. Once he figures the NBA game out, the sky’s the limit.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: That dude’s shot needs some work. Like “this car has two wheels and a family of dead gophers where the engine should be”-type work.
|Sasha Vujacic, SG 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: Sasha played? Oh, well, he’s been great to me, you know? He knows the offense; Fish knows him from their playing days. He’s been a great teacher for me.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: I honestly don’t remember him playing. I just know he keeps sitting next to me on the bench and telling me about the orgies in Phil Jackson’s sweat lodge and how they had to stop them because Mark Madsen would show up unannounced yelling about cocaine.
|Kristaps Porzingis, PF 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-2 3FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +1 +/-
WHAT KRISTAPS SAID: You know, I thought I played okay. I hit that three to start the game, but fell asleep a few times on D. Ibaka was being pretty aggressive, so it was good I put the ball on the floor. I wanted to be there in the end, but I respect coach’s decision. It’s a process.
ENGLISH-TO-LATVIAN-TO-ENGLISH-TRANSLATION: YOU DISEASED PIG SPLEENS KNOW NOT THE MAJESTY OF OVARY-SEWING POWERS I POSSESS. I AM KRISTAPS, SON OF TALIS, BLOOD-HEIR OF GULURPIS THE BALTIC OCEAN HAWK, WHOSE GOLDEN TALONS CLAW THE CARRION OF MAN, WHOSE BEAK SCOOPS YOUR FEEBLE VISCERA LIKE THE LUNGS OF SO MANY MEDIUM-SIZED RODENTS, AND WHOSE WINGS GAVE SURVEY TO ALL THE LANDS OF LATVIJA. IT WAS GULURPIS WHO BADE MY BASKETBALL POWERS AND SEXUAL TOUCH, AND IT IS YOU WHO WILL BOW QUAKING AT MY BONY, PREPUBESCENT KNEE CAPS, WHILST I SIT ASTRIDE A THRONE ADORNED WITH THE SKULLS OF THOSE VANQUISHED BY MY PUTBACK DUNKS. I AM LATVIATHAN. BRING ME TO YOUR NEAREST SHAKE SHACK AND INFUSE ME WITH CALORIES. AND THEN PERCHANCE LOAN ME A KEY TO THE GYM SO THAT I MAY PRACTICE BETWEEN THE HOURS OF THREE AND EIGHT A.M., FOR I LOST MINE WHILST EVACUATING MY SEED SNAKE INTO MY TOO-SMALL TOILET.
Force of habit, I guess.
Five Things We Saw
- The Thunder were without Kevin Durant (any y’all out there say the Thunder was, go wilt arugula or something), which can tend to throw a shitwrench into things. Russell Westbrook has been otherworldly, because duh, but the Knicks seemed perfectly content with letting Russ feast on the stubbled, Iberico-cured corpse of Jose Calderon. Which, by some ethereal force I do not understand, never really happened. Let us not question it.
- If I’m Serge Ibaka, and I see I’m being checked by a 20-year-old blond child on stilts, I’m drooling enough to spawn lily pads on the floor. As it was, Ibaka was invisible for much of the game (though he was diligent about bodying Kristaps up away from the basket). Maybe he has tuberculosis?
- Shooting 12 of 20 from deep helps, obviously. As does this: https://twitter.com/HerringWSJ/status/667894786368495617
- The Bocker second unit held down the lead with their typical pluck and aplomb. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when your opponent’s bench looks like they rolled straight off the bus from the Gathering of the Juggalos. When Lance Thomas and Derrick Williams are causing you procedural confusion, your planets are trapped in some unholy house.
- Right as Russell Westbrook was amping up for a good ol’ fashioned throat spraying, the boys and blue came up with big buckets in big moments—punctuated by Melo and Afflalo’s opposing baseline jumpers. The result was a signature win against a very good opponent (however conspicuously shorthanded) on the road in a hostile environment where most of the fans either slaughter cows with handsaws or siphon oceans of deathgas for a living. Sorry not sorry.
- We’re not gonna talk about the last three minutes. Mostly because why ruin a good thing, right?!?!?!?!?!?!? But also because I, like many of you, spent those three minutes biting my nails so feverishly I actually gnawed a few fingertips off. I had to dictate this bullet point to my dog, who, bless her soul, now has my blood all over her. I should probably leave a note to my wife explaining this.