From an individual standpoint, Kristaps Porzingis' first game against his former team was a success, but his strong effort wasn't enough, as the Knicks topped the Mavs 106-102 on Friday in Dallas.
Porzingis fouled out of the game with 30 seconds to play, but overall he showed exactly why the Knicks selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, scoring 28 points while adding nine rebounds and five blocks.
After the final whistle, Porzingis spoke with his former head coach David Fizdale near center court.
"He said he was happy to see me and happy that I was happy," Porzingis explained. "We exchanged some words. And I know he's trying his best for the team to play well and putting in guys in situations where they can succeed and giving Frank (Ntilikina) a great opportunity now and he showed what he's capable of, so I know Fizdale is doing his best to make that thing work.
"It was good to see him. I know the type of coach he is and the type of character he has so it was good to see him."
Porzingis played well through three quarters but struggled in the fourth. He went 1-for-5 with three turnovers and three fouls. Overall, he made 11 of 22 shots and four of eight from beyond the arc.
"He's a nightmare. He's exactly what I thought I was going to be coaching. He's a special player," Fizdale said. "To be that size, to shoot from that deep, to be able to post. He's a special player."
The Knicks and Mavs will go head-to-head once again on Thursday night, this time at Madison Square Garden.
Porzingis knows that the MSG crowd will be very vocal upon his return to the arena that he once called home.
"I don't know, I don't know," Porzingis said when asked about his expectations for the game. "Probably a lot of noise. I don't know if it's going to be positive or negative. But it's going to be a lot of emotion, I think from the fans and for me also, coming back to New York. Its going to be interesting.
"I'm looking forward to the game. I spent there, four years of my life, living there. It's going to be special coming back to new York for sure."