Kristaps Porzingis wasn’t bothered by the harsh reception he received from fans at Madison Square Garden in his Boston Celtics debut Wednesday night.
The Latvian big man, who was drafted No. 4 overall by the Knicks in 2015, said he used the crowd’s “F— Porzingis!” chants as motivation in the Celtics’ 108-104 comeback win over the New York Knicks.
“Obviously the crowd was chanting that, and for me, it was fun,” he said, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “I was enjoying all that and looking at it as motivation. Motivation to make plays at the end. It was actually really, really fun to be in that type of environment.”
Porzingis finished with 30 points in the win, setting a new franchise record for the most points in a Celtics debut. He also became the first player in NBA history to record 30 points, five made 3-pointers (5-of-9), and four blocks in a debut game.
Porzingis spent the first four seasons of his career with the Knicks before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019. He told reporters Wednesday that he understands why Knicks fans have beef with him, but he still thinks highly of the organization.
“I think it was the way the exit happened,” Porzingis said, according to SNY. “I think it was that and, of course, if you’re not with New York, you’re the enemy. And I understand that completely. I miss this place and again, as I said, I wish nothing but the best for this organization.”