Will Porzingis leave the curtsey?
NBA - Kristaps Porzingis after screams from the Knicks fans at the Mavs game: "Emotions are good"
In his first game back at his old place of work, Kristaps Porzingis was mercilessly booed by fans of the New York Knicks at every opportunity. After the close 103:10 bankruptcy of the Dallas Mavericks in the Big Apple, the Latvian was not very impressed.
"I don't know whether that's fair or not," replied Porzingis when the game was over when the Knicks fans were not very friendly. "I don't think about it too much. That's just the way it is. We came here to win the game. We're frustrated that we couldn't do it."
After the trade from the Knicks to the Mavericks shortly before the Trade Deadline 2019, the game on Thursday night was the first reunion of Porzingis with his ex-team and the Knicks fans in Madison Square Garden.
They greeted him while warming up with loud boos, and almost all of the Mavs star's actions during the game were accompanied by loud boos. "Traitors" or "KP sucks" chants could be heard again and again.
"That was on a different level," said Knicks top scorer Marcus Morris, impressed. "It looked like he was a little insecure. That helped us a little." Porzingis also had to admit that it was "pretty loud" in the arena. But that wasn't a problem for him: "I expected that. I think that's better than neutrality. Emotions are good. Whether good or bad, it means that it is important to the people. The Knicks fans in particular are very passionate . "
Luka Doncic on boos: "He didn't deserve it"
In the first few minutes, however, the Big Man had some problems finding his way into the game. His first four field throw attempts were not successful - much to the delight of the Knicks fans - in the end Porzingis made a good performance with 20 points (7/17 FG), 11 boards and 3 blocks.
But that wasn't enough to win in the end, just like Luka Doncic's triple-double (33 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds with 10/23 FG and 3/12 threesomes). However, the Slovenian showed little understanding for the sometimes hostile atmosphere in the MSG.
"They booed him on draft night. He did a lot of great things for the Knicks. Honestly, from my point of view, he didn't deserve it," said Doncic. "But I think he handled it very professionally and I'm proud of him."
Coach Rick Carlisle was also satisfied with Porzingis' appearance: "He took some very positive steps today. I love how he worked his way into the game with offensive rebounds, lots of movement and cutts." He expected such an atmosphere, Carlisle saw it as a good opportunity for the young Mavs team to gain experience.
Luka Doncic? Fizdale: "He will oust Dirk Nowitzki"
The 24-year-old spent the first three and a half years of his career with the New York Knicks, which drafted him fourth in 2015. For the Knickerbockers he put up 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in 195 games before tearing his cruciate ligament in February 2018 and finally being traded to the Mavs just under a year later.
Before that, there was always speculation that Porzingis was dissatisfied with the front office and wanted to leave the Knicks. This is one of the reasons why the fans reacted so emotionally when he returned. "It doesn't matter. I won't try to win them back. That's the way it is. I understand where that comes from," said the Latvian. "What happened in the past happened. Now I'm on a new team and we just want to win games."
The Mavs are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference with six wins and five losses. However, two of these bankruptcies came against the Knicks, the weakest team from the east to date - despite persistent strong performances by the reigning Rookie of the Year Doncic.
The 20-year-old confirms his performances from the previous season in 2019/20, after the first eleven games he already has five triple doubles on the account. No wonder he got a lot of praise from Knicks coach David Fizdale: "He will oust Dirk (Nowitzki, editor's note) as the best European who has ever played this game when everything is done."
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