New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis’ Skills Shine On Saturday Night

Kristaps Porzingis put his talents on full display winning the annual Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star Saturday Night.

A night after posting 24 points in the Rising Stars game, Kristaps Porzingis continued to represent the New York Knicks well in New Orleans.

Porzingis came out on top in the annual Skills Challenge at All-Star Saturday Night, defeating Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward in the finals.

Smoothie King Center fans were disappointed that their hometown star from the New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis was eliminated early, but were very supportive in cheering Porzingis’ win.

After accepting the trophy Porzingis told NBA on TNT reporter Kristen Ledlow how important it was to win for his country and “the bigs.”

“I’m happy that I was able to get this win for the Bigs. This win’s for the Bigs, I was able to represent my country, my city … and I got the trophy.”

The second-year star showed incredible poise and awareness through the competition originally meant for shorter players or guards. At 7’3″, Porzingis continues the back-to-back trend of big men defeating the traditionally shorter player after Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Antony Towns won last year.

Porzingis spoke with the media after hoisting the trophy showing respect for his finals opponent from Utah.

“Gordon is a skilled player, I knew it would be tough, but it’s all about making that pass fast. I knew I had a chance. Before we started, in the walk-through, I know the pass and shot was most important, I was able to make pass on the first time all three times. And then the final, the first shot went in. A little bit of luck.”

Porzingis is the first Knicks player to win this competition, allowing the loss from Stephon Marbury back in 2004 to be forgotten by most diehard fans. Marbury was eliminated early in the first round in the original format only featuring top NBA point guards.

In a season full of team controversy the Porzingis win serves as yet another bandage to help limp through the rest of the season. The Latvian native shared some words of wisdom with reporters focusing on those that may question the abilities of taller players in this style of competition.

“It’s a good feeling that I’m able to showcase my skill with my size and show to the kids that you’re capable of doing that even if you’re tall and lanky like me. I think a lot of kids now growing up will improve those perimeter skills just seeing guys like– I don’t want to mention myself, but big guys with perimeter skills that can do it.”

The Knicks hope to keep the positive karma in New Orleans going strong as embattled All-Star Carmelo Anthony will take the floor in the marquee game.

At this rate, an MVP night from Anthony isn’t too far out of the question considering he may have the most to prove on Sunday leading into the trade deadline.

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