T.J. McConnell, the 24-year old Duquesne and Arizona product, hit a buzzer-beater over Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night. McConnell spun on Anthony and got off a clean look over Anthony. Melo raised his eyebrows higher than either of his hands while contesting the shot. He must have been upset with himself after the 6’2″ McConnell made the jumper.
The good news for the Knicks is that the shot was nearly contested by someone – Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis, who had just air-balled a wide-open 3, hustled down the court. I suppose another good sign is that Anthony didn’t just surrender a layup.
As for Porzingis, he managed just 7 points on 3-of-10 shooting to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block while Joel Embiid had 21 and 14. Before you call Porzingis a fraud who shrinks in big moments like games against the Philadelphia 76ers, look to his team.
Before Porzingis took the final shot, he had taken two shots in the 3rd quarter and sat the final 6:26 of the quarter. He started the 4th, took zero shots and went to the bench with 6:50 on the clock. He then remained on the bench until the Knicks final possession.
At that point he had been sitting for 20 minutes and hadn’t taken a shot in the better part of an hour. I guess drawing up a play for him was a nice gesture. Or a bad coaching decision. Generally your best players play more. I guess the important thing for Jeff Hornacek was getting Derrick Rose’s confidence back after he went AWOL. That combined with a loss to the 76ers is a good sign for the Knicks going forward as they prepare to inevitably be the ones to give Rose a max contract this summer.