Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Marcus Morris thought the boos and 'KP sucks!' chants at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night affected Kristaps Porzingis' performance in the Knicks' win over the Mavs.
"It was just at another level. It looked like he was a little rattled, too. So it kind of helped us," Morris said after hitting a game-sealing 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter of New York's win.
Porzingis heard boos during warmups, player introductions and throughout the game in his first night back at Madison Square Garden since being traded to Dallas last January.
He said afterward that the reaction was, generally, what he expected.
"I wouldn't say it affected me. I heard it, of course. It was pretty loud. But I tried to play my game and stay focused and not think too much about what is going on," said Porzingis, who finished with 20 points on 7-for-17 shooting, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
"I'm happy there was emotion. It would suck to play when nobody is cheering or booing. It's kind of cool. I like it. Whatever it is, if it's emotion it's good."
The Knicks (3-9) have beaten the Mavericks twice in the last seven days. Porzingis said late Thursday that he felt his old club was 'extra motivated' to face he and the Mavs.
"We kind of gave them life. They can play and they can play well," he said.
Porzingis requested a trade from New York during a meeting with management in late January and he was moved to Dallas hours after the request. He said that he understood that fans would boo him upon his return because he'd requested a trade from their team.
When asked if he thought the chants were fair, Porzingis intimated that the fans didn't know his side of the story.
"I don't know if it's fair or not. It's what they know. It's what they heard, the fans," he said. "I don't think about that too much. It is what it is.
"We came here to win a game and we are frustrated we didn't get it done."
Porzingis hasn't publicly discussed the reasons he requested the trade. Though it's known that he wasn't confident in the franchise's ability to build a winning team and to help him reach his potential as a player. He didn't want to get into his reasons for the trade when talking to the New York media over the past week.
"It doesn't matter. I'm not going to try to win them over now. It is what it is. I understand where they are coming from. Whatever happened is in the past. I just want to win games.
"Whatever happened is in the past. I just want to win games," he said.
New York traded Porzingis and the contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to free up cap space for free agency this summer. They also received Dennis Smith Jr. and two future first-round picks in the deal.
The club missed on its top targets in free agency (Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving) and signed several veterans to short-term deals and Julius Randle to a three-year contract.
The Knicks have had a poor start to the season and entered Thursday's game with speculation about head coach David Fizdale's job status. Several lopsided losses and an impromptu press conference from team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry in which the execs bemoaned a lack of consistency from the players led to the speculation.
The win on Thursday gave Fizdale and the players a respite from the speculation about the head coach's job and the drama that comes with it.
Fizdale joked that he and his club had 'been on the other side' of the boos Porzingis heard on Thursday.
"So I understand. But tonight they really, not only were they booing (Porzingis), but they showed great appreciation for our effort. that's The great part about the Garden," he said.