Boston Celtics newcomer Kristaps Porzingis had an auspicious debut with his new team, dropping 30 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and swatting away four shots against the franchise that drafted him No. 4 overall in 2015, the New York Knicks.
Sporting a 53/55/90 shooting slash, Porzingis helped lift the Cs over the Knicks with 12 fourth-quarter points en route to a 108-104 victory on the road at the World’s Most Famous Arena. Porzingis was all over the Madison Square Garden floor, leaving Spotrac’s Keith Smith in awe of the newcomer’s game.
“Kristaps Porzingis isn’t just picking and popping,” Smith prefaced before saying, “He’s picking and popping to about five feet behind the arc. That’s really, really hard for an opposing big to defend against. Most centers are like a fish out of water that far up the floor.”
“Brad Stevens might have executive of the year sewn up by halftime if Porziņģis keeps at it,” Weiss tweeted ahead of halftime; before Porzingis had his magical fourth-quarter run to be the Celtics’ opening night hero.
Kristaps Porzingis makes history again for the Boston Celtics in opening night win against Knicks
As Boston Celtics play-by-player radio announcer Sean Grande noted, Porzingis had a historic debut on his initial NBA home floor.
“Kristaps Porzingis is one of 31 men in NBA history to post 30 points, 4 blocks, 5 3’s,” Grande prefaced before saying, “It’s the 3rd time he’s done it…and he does it in his Celtics debut Opening Night at Madison Square Garden.”
The gravity of the moment cannot be lost: Porzingis helped avoid any narratives surrounding a potentially overpriced roster that lost on opening night when it wasn’t supposed to. Now, Boston is battle-tested and has built plenty of trust; while potentially establishing a pecking order when games are on the line.