NBA Roundup: Porzingis leads Knicks over Suns
NEW YORK (AP) — After racing back for an emphatic block on one end and streaking downcourt to get the ball back and slam it down while being fouled on the other, Kristaps Porzingis had one thing left to finish off his highlight-reel, end-to-end possession .
“I had to calm myself down to knock down the free throw,” Porzingis said.
He did, his final point in a 37-point performance that carried the New York Knicks to a 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns 120-107 on Friday night, giving Jeff Hornacek his first win over his former team and making a believer out of his opponent.
“Porzingis is special. He has a chance to be the best player in this league,” said Suns center Tyson Chandler, the former Defensive Player of the Year. “Watching him tonight and seeing what he’s done so far this season, he has a real shot of being the best player in this league.”
Porzingis fell just shy of the career-best 38 points he scored Monday against Denver, unable to score again after rejecting rookie Josh Jackson and delivering his powerful dunk on the other end to trigger loud “MVP! MVP!” chants.
“I loved that play,” Porzingis said. “Just the energy that was in the Garden at the moment, it was unbelievable.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points and Enes Kanter added 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks. They bounced back from a loss to Houston on Wednesday to win for the fourth time in five games after a 0-3 start.
The Suns swept the two-game series last season, Hornacek’s first coaching the Knicks. He spent 2 1/2 seasons coaching the Suns from 2013-16.
Devin Booker scored 34 points for the Suns, who had won two straight and four of five after they also started 0-3. Phoenix lost forward T.J. Warren to a head injury in the first half, a game after he scored a career-best 40 points.
Porzingis was 13 for 22 from the field in his sixth 30-point performance in eight games this season.
“When you see a 7-3 guy backing up the court, doing between the legs, playing 1-on-1, that’s special,” Kanter said. “I mean, he’s been doing an unbelievable job.”
Cavaliers 130, Wizards 122
WASHINGTON — LeBron James scored 57 points — the second-highest total of his career and an NBA-best this season — and the Cleveland Cavaliers stopped a four-game slide with a victory over the Washington Wizards.
James hadn’t scored this much since getting a career-high 61 for the Miami Heat on March 3, 2014, against the Charlotte Hornets.
Bradley Beal had 36 points for Washington, and John Wall finished with 13 points and 15 assists. But Wall was 4 for 13 from the field and 5 for 12 at the line.
76ers 121, Pacers 110
PHILADELPHIA — J.J. Redick scored 31 points, Ben Simmons had a triple-double and Philadelphia moved above .500 for the first time in nearly four years.
Redick was 8 of 12 from 3-point range, including the go-ahead shot with 2:06 left, another 3 to barely beat the shot clock with 1:08 remaining and a third from the left corner to make it 119-110 with 46 seconds left.
Simmons had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his second triple-double in a rookie season delayed a year because of injury. The Sixers (5-4) hadn’t had a winning record since they were also 5-4 on Nov. 13, 2013, but their painful rebuild appears near an end as they won their fourth straight game.
Victor Oladipo had 31 points for Indiana, which had won three in a row.
Rockets 119, Hawks 104
ATLANTA — James Harden scored 21 of his 29 points in Houston’s high-scoring first half, and the Rockets handed the Hawks their eighth straight loss.
Eric Gordon and Luc Mbah a Moute each scored 20 points for Houston, which improved to 6-1 on the road.
Kent Bazemore scored 18 points for the Hawks (1-8), who have not won since their season-opening victory at Dallas.
Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince each had 16 points for Atlanta.
Pistons 105, Bucks 96
DETROIT — Andre Drummond scored 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter, powering Detroit to the win.
Avery Bradley scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half for the Pistons, who went on a 21-5 run late in the second quarter and led 59-48 at halftime.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points for Milwaukee.
Bulls 105, Magic 83
ORLANDO, Fla. — Justin Holiday scored 19 points, Robin Lopez had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bulls earned their first road win of the season.
Chicago had seven players score in double figures. David Nwaba had 16 points, and rookie Lauri Markkanen made three 3-pointers on his way to 13 points.
Evan Fournier led Orlando with 21 points, and Nikola Vucevic had 14 points. Aaron Gordon added 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Magic led 45-44 at halftime, but the Bulls pulled away with a big second half. Lopez scored each of his 11 points in the third as Chicago outscored Orlando 29-15 in the period.