NEW YORK (AFP) – Marcus Morris sank a clutch three pointer with 13 seconds left to lift the New York Knicks to a 106-103 win over Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.
Porzingis, the former face of the New York Knicks, received a rude New York welcome in his first game back in the Big Apple on Thursday.
Knicks fans screamed “Go back to Latvia” and “Traitor” at the 24-year-old in his first appearance at Madison Square Garden since being traded in February.
“I wouldn’t say it affected me,” Porzingis said. “I heard it of course. It was pretty loud. But I tried to play my game, stay focussed and not think too much about what’s going on on the outside.”
The Latvian finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds and teammate Luca Doncic, of Slovenia, tallied his fifth triple double of the season with 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
But it wasn’t enough to stop the Knicks, who won for just the third time in 12 games this season, with two of those victories at the expense of the Mavericks.
New York traded Porzingis, its first-round pick in the 2015 draft, to Dallas in February in a blockbuster deal involving six players and two first-round picks.
He was booed every time he touched the ball and every time he took a shot on Thursday.
“I get it around this league,” Knicks forward Marcus Morris said, “but it was a different level.”
On Wednesday, Porzingis said that if social media were any indication, he expected a negative reception.
Morris’ game-winning shot capped a back-and-forth fourth quarter in which there were five ties. Seth Curry put back a Tim Hardaway miss to level the score at 101-101 with 38 seconds left.
Morris dribbled for a few seconds before taking a step back and hitting the go-ahead shot. Doncic sank a basket to pull the Mavericks within one point with five seconds left.
Frank Ntilikina then hit two free throws with three seconds left to ice the win.
Elsewhere, rookie Kendrick Nunn had 23 points and eight assists as the visiting Miami Heat held on for a 108-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Heat, who have won six of their past eight games, improved to 8-3 on the season.
Miami’s Bam Adebayo collected 16 points and 15 rebounds, and rookie Tyler Herro scored 16 points in his return from a one-game absence caused by a sprained ankle.
Jimmy Butler had 14 points and six assists for the Heat, who led 68-44 at the half.
Kevin Love had 21 points and 10 rebounds while Collin Sexton chipped in with 15 points for the Cavaliers.
Larry Nance came off the bench to finish with 14 points and eight rebounds for Cleveland, who lost for the fifth time in seven contests.
Also, Jrue Holiday scored 36 points to spoil Paul George’s season debut and lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 132-127 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
George was playing for the first time since signing as a free agent with the Clippers because he’d been recovering from shoulder surgery last spring.
George finished with 33 points in 24 minutes but turned the ball over three times late in the game to Holiday.
Holiday finished with six steals, including another one on Lou Williams’ attempted pass in the final seconds to clinch the win.