From Stefan Bondy, who is now covering the Knicks for the Post after the Daily News let him go:
An old enemy in new digs punished the Knicks on opening night.
Kristaps Porzingis went from booed during introductions to being cursed in a chant to taking over down the stretch of Boston’s 108-104 comeback victory Wednesday night.
The Latvian dropped 30 points against his former team, including nine in the final 2 ¹/₂ minutes as the Knicks’ offense went ice cold.
Porzingis added four blocks and expertly guarded the paint against the Knicks (0-1), who managed just three total points after holding a 101-95 advantage with 3:39 minutes remaining.
With two minutes left, Porzingis was given a technical for elbowing Isaiah Hartenstein under the basket.
It prompted the MSG crowd, still bitter over the 7-foot-3 center demanding a trade in 2019, to break out a “F— Porzingis” chant.
The former Knicks All-Star responded with two clutch free throws and a 3-pointer on the following possession.
The sequence swung the momentum for good.
It was an ugly night for Julius Randle, in particular, who has stated a season goal of becoming more efficient.
In Game 1, the power forward missed 17 of his 22 shots, including a few gimmes under the basket. Randle had just 14 points in 32 minutes in his first game since undergoing minor ankle surgery in the offseason.
Jalen Brunson wasn’t much better while shooting 6-for-21 with 15 points and six assists.
The Knicks were led by Immanuel Quickley, who, two nights after failing to agree to a contract extension, dropped 24 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
His shooting carried the Knicks in the beginning of the fourth quarter, when the home team rode a 13-2 run to take its first lead of the contest.
The Knicks couldn’t hold onto it. Mostly because of Porzingis and their own missed shots.
Eh, whatever, they still crashed the boards and played tough defense. Randle and Brunson are unlikely to play as poorly as this going forward (well, Brunson, at least, is unlikely to play this poorly going forward), so they’ll likely still win a bunch of games this year. I’m still cool with 53 wins as a guess!
Now, if Randle continues to play like this…that won’t be good.