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Porzingis Hurt In Knicks Win

Newsday

The Madison Square Garden crowd fell silent as Kristaps Porzingis laid on the floor, and then it gasped and moaned after he needed to be helped off the court.

All the good feelings about the Knicks' unexpected start to the season followed Porzingis into the locker room after he awkwardly rolled his right ankle less than three minutes into the their 115-86 victory over the Heat

The Knicks said Porzingis sprained his ankle, x-rays were negative, and he was available to return. But Porzingis never returned to the bench. The Knicks announced in the third quarter that Porzingis' night was over.

The fact that the Knicks (11-10) were ahead comfortably – they led by 21 at halftime and by 30 in the third quartre - might have had something to do with Porzingis not returning.

He was in the back riding the stationery bike and receiving treatment while the Knicks put an end to their three-game losing streak. But the injury was ugly and certainly appeared to be severe.

Porzingis was chasing a loose ball into the corner when Heat forward Justise Winslow stepped on his right ankle. Porzingis ankle turned all the way to the right. He slapped the floor as he tried to get up.

Knicks guard Jarrett Jack ran to Porzingis and immediately waved for a trainer. Porzingis, who ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring averaging 27 points per game, made his first two shots before exiting him with 9:30 left in the first quarter.

After missing 26 games his first two years in the NBA, Porzingis spent the summer getting stronger to help withstand the rigors of being the focal point of an offense and playing a full season. But this was a freak injury.

Porzingis has become the Knicks' most important player, and has flourished in his new role as their go-to guy. He began the night fourth in the NBA in scoring (27.0) and first in blocks (2.2).

The Knicks have struggled this season without Porzingis – losing both games he's missed - and hope they don't have to be without him for an extended period. But they got one of their key players back Wednesday, and he made a major difference.

Enes Kanter returned after missing the prior three games with back spasms and gave the Knicks the boost they had been missing. The Knicks lost all three by an average of 13 points.

Kanter had a double-double by halftime, and finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds in less than three quarters of action against the Heat without big man Hassan Whiteside due to left knee soreness.

Courtney Lee scored 17 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Doug McDermott each had 12 for the Knicks, who shot 44-for-73 from the field (60.3 percent). Willy Hernangomez scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds in nine-fourth-quarter minutes. Rookie Frank Ntilikina didn't because a sprained left ankle.

Kelly Olynyk led the Heat (10-11) with 18 points.

The Knicks were ahead 10-5 when Porzingis left and the Garden was seemingly stunned silent. But the Knicks eventually got the crowd into the game with their play, and Kanter was a catalyst.

They shot 63.6 percent (14-for-22) in the first and opened up a 33-22 lead in the closing seconds of the quarter. The Knicks continued to roll in the second with Kanter making all four of his shots. He scored 14 in the period and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Knicks closed out the second quarter a 13-3 run and took a 65-44 lead into halftime. The quarter ended with Jack throwing a pass to Hardaway that he jumped, caught and shot all in motion to beat the buzzer.

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