Porzingis Nets 30 Points, Secures Victory in Debut at MSG for Celtics

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In his debut as a Celtic, Kristaps Porzingis delivered a stunning 30-point performance and played a pivotal role in securing a victory at Madison Square Garden.


Kristaps Porzingis wasted no time making an impact with his new team. He had an impressive performance, contributing 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. In a critical fourth-quarter moment, Porzingis scored nine consecutive points, propelling the Boston Celtics to a 108-104 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

“That was awesome,” Porzingis said, with a very broad smile, when asked how it felt to take down his former team in his first game with his new one. “That was awesome, I’m not going to lie. Playing here at the Garden is always special as the home team, obviously, but also on the road here it’s really fun.

“At one point it got really crazy when the fans got into it and they made the comeback. But we stayed poised, we stayed calm and we were able to finish out the game.

“Overall, a fun game to play in, for sure.”

Porzingis enjoyed an outstanding debut with the Celtics, setting a franchise record for the most points scored in a debut game, surpassing Dominique Wilkins’ 25-point performance in 1994.

His versatility was on full display as well. Porzingis led the Celtics in three-pointers, making 5 out of the 12 attempted, and also excelled at the free-throw line with a 9-for-10 performance. He made a significant impact on the defensive end, blocking four shots and altering several more. Additionally, he finished the game with the highest plus-minus rating of +13 in 38 minutes of play.

“He has an innate ability to put two on the ball, whether they’re trying to pop and veer, whether they’re trying to blitz him, and so when he gets the space, he’s a magnet,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “So we just have to continue to get better at our spacing, get better at our 2-on-1 reads, and they’re going to look different than they did at times last year with him on the floor. But, because of him, we can get to some more post ups like we did down the stretch and really change the spacing of the game.”

The Celtics found themselves in dire straits, trailing 99-93 with just 4 minutes and 10 seconds left on the clock. This precarious situation was compounded by a challenging 35-second stretch from Jaylen Brown. He made two costly mistakes – one errant pass in the half court, directly to Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, and another aimless inbounds pass after a Julius Randle 3-pointer. To make matters worse, Brown also fouled Quentin Grimes on a made three-point shot.

This sequence transformed a tied game into a daunting six-point deficit, igniting a frenzy in the Madison Square Garden crowd and giving the impression that the Knicks were on the verge of clinching a national television victory over Boston for the second time in three seasons.

However, the script flipped as Boston embarked on a 13-3 run, largely fueled by the brilliance of Porzingis. He sank six crucial free throws and punctuated the run with a pivotal 3-pointer from the right wing, putting the Celtics in the lead for good with just 89 seconds remaining.

“That was big,” Jayson Tatum said. “For us to call that timeout right there and figure it out. … I think we made timely plays. Obviously getting in the bonus helped. But rebounding was kind of hurting us, letting them get second- and third-chance opportunities. So once we started getting stops, giving them one chance, and we just were under control.

“We knew we wanted to run, we knew who we were trying to attack and we executed.”



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