Led by Kristaps Porzingis’ defense (seven blocks) and offense from Carmelo Anthony (20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists) and Arron Afflalo (29 points), the New York Knicks held off Karl-Anthony Towns and the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 107-102 Wednesday night.

KAT was solid in his first trip to Madison Square Garden, finishing with 25 points and ten boards.

The two rookie bigs know this is just the first of many battles to come.

Per the NY Daily News:

Kristaps Porzingis is an imposing sight for the unacquainted, so Karl-Anthony Towns’ initial impression was an understandable reaction to a 7-3 Latvian. […] “I’ve never had to look up at somebody,” the 6-11 Towns about their time together at the NBA draft. “So I was fairly surprised to not be the tallest person in the room.”

 

Porzingis logged seven blocks – including two emphatic rejections of Towns attempts — complementing Anthony’s near triple-double (20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists) and Arron Afflalo’s scoring surge (29 points). If the two early frontrunners for Rookie of the Year engage in a career rivalry – as the pregame narrative suggested — Round 1 went to Towns statistically and in the win column to Porzingis. New York’s prized rookie rebounded from a difficult three-game road trip to score 11 points with six boards at home, but struggled in the second half and shot 4-of-14 overall.

 

Towns, the No. 1 pick in June and a Piscataway, N.J., product, countered with 25 points and 10 rebounds, ultimately outplaying his counterpart. But the game ended with Porzingis blocking Towns’ 3-point shot at the buzzer, and a Knicks’ victory. […] “You’re going to see this guy for the next 12 years, so get used to it,” T-Wolves coach Sam Mitchell said of the two rookies.