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83° Good Afternoon

Cavs coach David Blatt impressed by Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks controls

Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks controls the ball against Tiago Splitter of the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

CLEVELAND -- - David Blatt never coached against Kristaps Porzingis overseas, but he knew of him and expected him to be in the NBA. Blatt, the Cavaliers coach, has been impressed by what he's seen thus far from the Knicks' rookie.

"In everyone's opinion this was a guy that had enormous potential and certainly was on the radar for the NBA for a few years," Blatt said. "I think he's come in beautifully to the league. Again, it's only a short period of time. He's skilled and he competes, and he wants it. You can see that already.

"I thought that was a great, great pick by the Knicks."

Afflalo getting closer

Arron Afflalo (strained left hamstring) did some sprinting and shooting in his second straight day of court work. He said he's "a lot closer" to making his Knicks debut. Afflalo is not ruling out a return this weekend, but he still needs to go through some contact work.

"It would be nice but I don't want to put any stamps on it and disappoint myself or anybody else," Afflalo said. "So I do know for sure that when I'm ready I will be out there because I'm trying to play yesterday, so I'm excited."

No J.R. or Shump

This was the second game between the two teams since the Knicks sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland in January -- a move that helped LeBron James and the Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals. But Smith (bruised knee, quad tendinitis) and Shumpert (wrist surgery) were out Wednesday night. "I would love to play against my brothers, man," Carmelo Anthony said. "It seems like LeBron took all my family from me. But we play them three more times, so I'll get a chance."

Smith should be back when the Cavaliers visit the Garden next week, but Shumpert isn't expected to return until sometime in 2016.


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