In the current era of NBA smallball and 3-point sharpshooters, it’s nice to watch two big men go at each other in the post all night long. It’s like watching dinosaurs before the asteroid collision made them extinct—a window back to a forgotten age.
The New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings feature two of the best “bigs” in the NBA right now, though neither is traditional in any sense of the word. DeMarcus Cousins takes four 3-pointers a game, and he’s spending more time roaming the perimeter than he ever has before. And Kristaps Porzingis is more of a Dirk Nowitzki-type big man than a traditional back-to-the-basket guy. Still, in their two teams’ matchup Thursday night, these two had a showdown, low-post style.
First, Porzingis backed Cousins down, pulled the ball back out to execute a crossover dribble, then put his shoulder into Cousins and drove to the basket for a nice floater and the and-1. It showcased the range of Porzingis’s abilities, from his strength and skill in backing down an opponent to his surprisingly strong handles.
But Cousins won the night with his retaliation. He put a devastating spin move on Porzingis out of the post, followed by a nasty one-handed jam. This was like returning the favor followed by returning the favor eight more times. It was downright dirty.
For one night, big men ruled the paint once again, and it was glorious.