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Kristaps Porzingis.

Kristaps Porzingis on leading the Knicks: "The challenge is never too big for me"

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The New York Knicks' decision to trade Carmelo Anthony and build the team around Kristaps Porzingis is being justified with each game.

The Latvian has made a scintillating start to the season and has elevated his game to a whole new level.

He's dropped impressive numbers in almost every game so far this campaign and it has led to several wins for the Knicks.

He had arguably his best game so far in the team's 108-101 win against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

The power forward poured in a career-high 40 points, with 17 coming in the fourth quarter as he helped New York rally from a 19-point deficit to claim a fifth win of the season to move above .500.

Porzingis outscored Indiana by himself, 24-17, after the Pacers established the huge lead late in the third quarter. He also added eight rebounds and six blocks.

Speaking after his career night, he explained how he's feeling "very comfortable" as the team's number one option on offence.

Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks

"I'm seeing a different type of defence almost every night. No matter who I'm playing against they're trying to be physical with me," Porzingis said.

"I'm just trying to make the right decision, whether it's me being aggressive and attacking or passing the ball. Just trying to play my game and staying calm mentally."

The 7'3" big man has scored at least 30 points in seven of the Knicks' first nine games and is the key factor behind them securing five wins in their past six outings.

The 22-year-old is now the league's second-leading scorer, averaging 30.2 points per game. The Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the way with 31.0 points.

New York Knicks v Oklahoma City Thunder

The biggest question following Carmelo's departure in September was whether the youngster was ready to take the reigns and become the face of one of the biggest franchises in the NBA.

At his end-of-season news conference in April, then-team president Phil Jackson said he didn't think Porzingis was ready to handle that burden and become the focal point on offence.

He is definitely being proved wrong by the man he drafted with the number four overall pick in 2015 and Porzingis admitted that Jackson's remarks gave him added motivation.

"Of course. The challenge is never too big for me," he said. "I always accept the challenge and that's why I knew coming into this season [if] Melo was not going to be here, then I'm going to have to be that guy and that's why I was just [spending] 24 hours in the gym.

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics

"I was preparing for this, preparing myself physically, and I'm just happy that I'm capable of playing at this level right now."

The Knicks dispensed with both Jackson and Anthony to allow their young star to flourish and he's doing that in some style as he's become a devastating force on the court.

Topics:
NBA
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Carmelo Anthony
New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis

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