NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis tore the ACL in his left knee Tuesday night, dealing a devastating blow to a team whose season was already teetering on the edge.
Porzingis was injured after crashing to the ground following a successful dunk with 8:46 left in the second quarter. He landed on the foot of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo before falling to the ground while grabbing at his knee. He had to be helped off the court.
The Knicks announced after the game that an MRI revealed the ACL tear, a season-ending injury.
Porzingis, who was selected to his first All-Star game this season, was averaging 22.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game. He had 10 points, two rebounds and three blocks Tuesday.
“More than a basketball player, he’s my brother,” Knicks center Enes Kanter said. “I don’t want to see anyone going down like that hurting his knee. He’s about to be an All-Star. I’m just going to pray for him tonight. He is the most important part of our family.”
The Knicks lost to Milwaukee 103-89. After a promising start to the season, New York (23-32) has dropped four straight and 19 of its last 26 games. The Knicks sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and figure to fall farther without their best player.
Antetokounmpo scored 23 points, jumping over Tim Hardaway Jr. for one high-flying slam. Eric Bledsoe also had 23 points and Khris Middleton added 20 for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo didn’t appear bothered by a right ankle injury sustained Sunday, particularly when he leaped to catch a lob pass on a fast break and jumped over the 6-foot-6 Hardaway to slam it down .
Enes Kanter led New York with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Milwaukee led 50-46 at halftime and opened the second half with six straight points. The Bucks increased their lead to a game-high 21 points on Marshall Plumlee’s free throw with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
The Knicks scored the next nine points and pulled within 12 points on a pair of occasions in the final quarter, but never got any closer.
Sean Kilpatrick (16) and Jabari Parker (10) also scored in double figures for the Bucks.
Courtney Lee added 14 points for the Knicks, who have lost four straight, tying their longest losing streak of the season.
Bucks: Milwaukee guard Matthew Dellavedova sprained his right ankle in Sunday’s win at Brooklyn. He underwent an MRI on Monday and subsequent examination by team physician Dr. William Raasch at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. The exam confirmed a sprained right ankle that is expected to sideline Dellavedova for up to four weeks.
Knicks: New York has dropped 10 of its last 13 games against the Bucks. That streak has cost them the lead in the all-times series, as they now trail 106-101. The Knicks have not taken a season series from the Bucks since going 2-1 against them during the 2013-14 season.
The Bucks have posted a 7-1 record since Joe Prunty replaced Jason Kidd as coach on Jan. 22. However, only one of the victories was against a team that was above .500. That was a 107-95 victory over Philadelphia.
Kanter has recorded six consecutive double-doubles. It is the longest streak by any Knick since David Lee had seven straight from Feb. 9-26, 2010.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS
Middleton is the only Milwaukee player to start all 53 games this season. Thon Maker has also played in all 53, but has only started nine times.
The Bucks have had their way with New York City’s NBA teams this season. They are 2-0 against both the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, with all four wins coming within the last 11 days.
Bucks: Visit Miami on Friday.
Knicks: Visit Toronto on Thursday.
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)