Porzingis doesn't expect Mavs reunion to mirror Knicks return

Kristaps Porzingis

WASHINGTON -- Kristaps Porzingis must pay fairly close attention to his former team, the Dallas Mavericks, because it was barely a half-hour after the Wizards' win over the Magic on Wednesday that he mentioned a detail from their game that night.

"Dorian [Finney-Smith], I think, had a career-high tonight. That's my guy," Porzingis said. "I'm happy for those guys that are playing really well."

He will get to see them soon, as on Friday the Mavericks come to Washington for the first game between the teams since they struck a trade deadline deal to swap Porzingis and a second-round pick for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. While Dinwiddie has enjoyed a renaissance in Dallas, Porzingis was the headliner in that trade, as a former All-Star.

And now he's playing well, just having scored a season-high 35 points in a win vs. Orlando. Porzingis is averaging 21.8 points while shooting 47.2% from the field, both numbers being up from what he did earlier this season with the Mavs.

The Wizards have won three of their last four games and the Mavs have won five of six. 

"It's going to be interesting. It's going to be fun, I think. Dallas is one of the best teams in the league. They're playing really well lately," Porzingis said.

This, of course, isn't the first time Porzingis has faced his former team. He began his career with the Knicks and became a star in New York, only to get traded to the Mavs in a blockbuster deal in 2019. 


Porzingis made his return to Madison Square Garden that November and it was a major story in the NBA. This time, he doesn't think there be as much hype.

"I think it's going to be a good game. It's not going to be like my first game with Dallas in New York. That one was just crazy. This one is going to be a bit more just me competing against my old team. We'll see," he said.

Porzingis played the Knicks with the Mavs twice that season, the first meeting was in Dallas. The Mavs lost both games, though Porzingis played well in each of them. He had 28 points and nine rebounds in the first game and 20 points and 11 rebounds in the second.

Certainly, playing on the road in front of a New York crowd added elements that won't be there Friday night. He is playing in D.C., so there shouldn't be any boos. While there were rumors of discord behind the scenes during Porzingis' tenure, there doesn't appear to be a major beef to monitor.

Still, Porzingis is one of several players in that trade who now gets a shot at their former team. That should provide at least some intrigue.