Heyyyy...We got one!
Admittedly, it probably shouldn't have been that difficult. Being down 20 again in this game, the young Knicks seem to be making overcoming large deficits an early season trend. One that my hair can't might not be able to handle, I'll either be bald or grey by All Star break if this keeps up.
Knicks fans all over have been clamoring for Frank Ntilikina to get some decent playing time. With Dennis Smith Jr. out due to a death in his family, Frankie Smokes saw some action and affected the game almost immediately creating pressure in the backcourt for a rare 8 second violation against the Bulls while posting his usual 0 point stat line (along with 2 rebounds/2 assists in 22 minutes).
The real story of the night was Bobby Portis showing up and showing out against his former team with a heavy double-double (28p/11r/2a) that carried the Knicks to their first victory of the season. You might recall Portis was suspended 8 games last year for punching (then) teammate Nikola Mirotic in the face at practice after some trash talking escalated into Portis fracturing Mirotic's face and giving him a concussion. That's unrelated to this game, just a badass story to highlight how far this guy will go to win #NeverScared.
Portis knocked the monkey off the back of the Knicks helping them get win #1 as they head to Orlando for a showdown with yet another playoff team from last year and a new and improved Markelle Fultz.
Before I look ahead to that lets just take a minute to appreciate RJ Barrett again. The kid is a stud and looks every part of a franchise backbone as we hoped he would be. I just didn't expect it to be this soon. Smart, strong and most impressive, he has the patience of a 10 year man. grabbing his own offensive board, multiple pump fakes and a nice putback to keep the Knicks momentum is something that every fan should be focusing on not the "Let Frank play more" or "Fire Fiz" posts I see all over the place. It's 9 new guys on a team of 15 people. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
Food for thought before I let you go. The Knicks were in the game until the last few minutes against the Spurs, Kyrie hit a big 3 to give the Nets a win late in game 2 and the Celtics blew up at The Garden and handed over a serious beatdown. A few bounces in the other direction and these Knicks are 3-1.
Brighter days are coming.