Mavs at Knicks Preview: Porzingis Won’t Get NY Support, But He’s Got Luka’s

Mike Fisher

Kristaps Porzingis probably won’t have the support of the Madison Square Garden crowd tonight. But the Knicks-turned-Mavs star will have the support of an MVP candidate.

“We’ve got to stick together,'' said 20-year-old team leader Luka Doncic. "I’m going to help him out. The players are going to help him out. The coaches. Everybody’s got his back. We’re just going to get through this as a team.”

The New York Knicks audience surely won’t be that kind, as the internet is already suggesting.

"Social media is mostly negative,” Porzingis said. “But we'll see. It's going to be a lot of emotion.”

Yes, that’ll be a problem in New York City due to the fact that last year KP demanded his way out of NYC and got traded to Dallas. He’s expressing admiration for Knicks fans and sympathy for their plight (and his former plight), exemplified by the fact that Porzingis played for four head coaches in three seasons.

KP on NYC, which he labeled “a basketball city”: “When I was there the expectations were always high for us. The city is always hungry for success in basketball. And for them - for the fans - and the city to be going through that year after year, it's got to be tough. ... This year is no different for them again. It's tough. It is what it is."

And KP on Dallas, where coach Rick Carlisle is a symbol of franchise stability: “It's obviously a positive here that a coach has been here for many, many years and won here and is well-respected here.”

Porzingis is surely seeking that same sort of respect in his first season in Dallas. They will increase as his numbers do; the 7-3 Porzingis enters tonight’s 7 p.m. CT tip averaging 18.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, but he’s struggling through a slump that includes a 1-of-11 shooting effort in Monday’s loss at Boston.

This game is also going to be about Luka leading the 6-4 Mavs against a Knicks team that is 2-9, with one of those wins coming last week at Dallas. But KP obviously understands that his past and his future are also center-stage at Madison Square Garden.

"You know what?” he told New York reporters who asked about his time with the Knicks. “It's in the past now and I don't want to bring it back up, you know? It is what it is, it happened and now I'm in a new place and looking forward to what's ahead of me.”