Carmelo Anthony was back at the Garden on Saturday night, but his replacement as the face and focal point of the Knicks wasn’t able to play against him.
Kristaps Porzingis was out of the lineup against Carmelo and the Thunder — one game after pulling himself from Thursday’s win over the Nets with a sore left knee — although the Knicks won without him for the first time in the five games he has missed this season.
“I think he just wasn’t feeling exactly right on some of his moves,” Jeff Hornacek said after the Knicks’ 111-96 victory. “So after talking with the doctors, we just felt that we’ll keep him out. Again, not having the worry of making it worse, they’ll continue to work on it. He felt better, he seemed like he was almost ready to go today. So hopefully he progresses in the next day and a half (before Monday’s game in Charlotte).
Before the game, Hornacek said Porzingis had taken part in the team’s morning shoot-around, but after conferring with the medical staff, the 7-foot-3 power forward was announced as inactive about an hour before tipoff.
Porzingis, who hasn’t addressed the media since Thursday in Brooklyn, admitted that night that he initially felt his knee “buckle a little bit” in the second quarter; he played three minutes after intermission before leaving the game. Following a medical reevaluation on Friday, the team officially had listed Porzingis as “day-to-day” and “questionable” for Anthony’s return.
“I should have some pain (if it was serious), some bad pain, but I don’t,” Porzingis said Thursday night. “I’m standing. It’s just them being cautious.”
THEY WILL BRING THE THUNDER
Oklahoma City leaves town with a middling 14-15 mark, still adjusting to adding All-Stars Anthony and Paul George to reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook. But former OKC center Enes Kanter, who came over in the Anthony deal, still likes the Thunder to make a big move in the Western Conference.
“They obviously have three of the best players in the league. They’ve had some tough games, but the most important thing is they stay together…I believe that they’re still the best team in the West,” Kanter said. “I believe it, yeah, I think in the end you will guys will see it in the playoffs that they’re going to step up. I still believe they are the best team in the West…They just need some time to try to get used to each other and stuff, but once they get the chemistry together, I think they’re gonna beat Houston, Golden State, whoever, in the West.”
Kanter, already playing through back and hip injuries, was holding a neck brace after the game, following a second-half collision with former teammate Andre Roberson that limited him to 23 minutes of playing time. Kanter said he expects to play Monday in Charlotte.
Center Steven Adams was sidelined for Oklahoma City with a concussion suffered in Friday’s triple-OT win in Philadelphia. Joakim Noah was in uniform for the Knicks with Porzingis unavailable, but he did not play.
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