Porzingis, Knicks beat 76ers as Okafor sits with suspension
NEW YORK (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis soared, Jahlil Okafor sat.
At this point, the New York Knicks must be pleased with the way things went in the NBA draft.
Porzingis had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 99-87 victory Wednesday night over the Philadelphia 76ers, who played without the suspended rookie they took one pick ahead of Porzingis.
Porzingis had his ninth double-double of the season, tops among rookies and sixth in the NBA. His 6-of-10 performance included 2-for-2 shooting from 3-point range and a fourth-quarter dunk when he blew by Nerlens Noel on the perimeter.
Sixers coach Brett Brown, an Australian who coached internationally for years, said Porzingis’ combination of skills reminded him of players such as Dirk Nowitzki and Toni Kukoc.
“That’s a hell of a good pick and I think that his upside is going to be kind of whatever he wants it to be,” Brown said.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher sees the same unlimited potential.
“I think it’s a blank canvas and he can be as great as he wants to be,” Fisher said.
The 76ers selected Okafor third, and Porzingis went next to New York. Based on the Latvian’s impressive play on the court and Okafor’s troubles off it, the Knicks must have no regrets.
A night after winning for the first time this season, the 76ers suspended their leading scorer after the release of a second video provided details of his fight in Boston he hadn’t revealed to them.
Philadelphia attempted 30 3-pointers and made just nine, turning more toward a perimeter game without the 17.2 points per game Okafor provides.
“I could definitely tell they were missing somebody and that was him,” Porzingis said.
Brown had spoken to Okafor after the release of the first video on TMZ showed him fighting in Boston on the night of a loss to the Celtics last month. Brown said he was surprised by what he saw in the new one.
“As far as the play-by-play of what happened, he did not go into that,” Brown said. “Today we learned more and the thing I do say is when I spent time with Jahlil in his room today, he is ashamed, he’s embarrassed and this has caught him off guard.”
Hollis Thompson scored 13 points for the 76ers, who ended their record-tying 0-18 start and their 28-game skid dating to last season that was the longest in major U.S. professional sports with a 103-91 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Arron Afflalo added 13 points for the Knicks, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Carmelo Anthony, back after missing a game with an illness, scored 12 points and shot 5 for 16.
The Knicks never trailed and put six players in double figures.
76ers: Okafor will also miss a game Saturday against Denver and be eligible to return Monday at home against San Antonio. ... The 76ers have lost four straight at Madison Square Garden.
Knicks: The club’s NBA D-League team dropped a Wednesday matinee for its first loss this season. Former college player of the year Jimmer Fredette had 22 points and nine assists after a 37-point debut Monday, while Knicks forward Cleanthony Early had 16 points and nine rebounds. Early was recalled later Wednesday and got in for the final 3 minutes against the 76ers, joining Troy Daniels, Jordan Farmar, Coby Karl and Luke Harangody as the only players to accomplish a D-League/NBA doubleheader.