Valančiūnas and Latvia's Porzingis face off as Raptors sweep Knicks

Baltic basketball fans who have been comparing and contrasting the NBA careers of Jonas Valančiūnas from Lithuania and Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia were treated with an exciting game on Monday when Valančiūnas' Raptors and Porzingis' Knicks met face-to-face once again, this time in New York.
Jonas Valančiūnas
© Stopkadras

One of the first times these two teams played each other with both Baltic centers on their rosters, Porzingis left the Raptors disgraced with a huge dunk over three of their defenders. This time, the Raptors and Valančiūnas had an opportunity to respond, and did so by sweeping the Knicks in a 122-95 victory.

Neither Baltic big man's performance was exceptional during this game, but Valančiūnas did outperform Porzingis with 20 points and 6 rebounds over 25 minutes compared to 17 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist over 33 minutes from Porzingis. At one point, the two talented centers squared off underneath the basket, and despite Porzingis' imposing height at 2.21m (7ft 3in) compared to Valančiūnas' 2.13m (7ft), Valančiūnas managed to score a basket and draw a foul from Porzingis as well.

NBA fans as well as fans in Latvia have been excited to watch Porzingis' talents unfold, especially after the cold reception he was given by fans and commentators after being drafted – he was even booed by fans at the draft ceremony. Since then, however, his surprising performances have made him a fan favourite.

Valančiūnas has been doing well with the Raptors as well, shoring up his shaky defense while maintaining a strong offensive effort. Many fans have even begun lamenting the limited time often given to Valančiūnas during games.

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