NEW YORK -- If Randy Wittman had it his way, he'd probably force Otto Porter to watch video of Tuesday's game. He'd have him focus on rookie Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, who had the assertiveness that he'd like the third-year forward to tap into more often.
The Wizards won 111-108, but after being held to four points in the first half Porzingis erupted for 14 in the third quarter alone. The Knicks went from trailing by 16 to taking the lead several times in the fourth quarter before falling short.
“He’s going to be a true player in this league. He didn’t really have a stellar first half. He came out with confidence in the third quarter. That is the thing I like," Wittman said of Porzingis, who finished with 20 points and denied John Wall twice on drives to the basket in the final four minutes. "I talk about we miss a couple shots (and sulk). You got to think ‘I’m going to make five in a row now.’ That’s kind of how he does. I thought we did a pretty good job frustrating him in the first half and he came out in the third quarter and said, ‘Screw this.’"
The Knicks used Porzingis at center late in the game which forced Wittman's hand to go with a small lineup that featured Porter as the stretch power forward with Jared Dudley at center.
Porter was mostly invisible after a fast start, which has become a bad habit such as when he scored 18 of 20 points in the second quarter in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets. He defended Carmelo Anthony well down the stretch as he forced him to hit difficult, contested turnaround jump shots that he still converted.
Porter's three-pointer with 5:47 remaining gave the Wizards the breathing room needed for a 96-92 lead. But he played almost 11 minutes in the fourth and that was the only shot he took, getting no rebounds, assists or steals and not attempting any foul shots.
That represented a 12-minute drought for Porter between field goals made as he finished 5 of 6 for 13 points. Porzingis started the game 1 of 3 in the first half. He shot 7 of 14 in the second half to finish with 20 points.