DALLAS – Kristaps Porzingis shone. The Knicks shone brighter, especially Porzingis' best friend from his former team, Frank Ntilikina.
Maybe this Mammut 106-102 Knicks win in the Porzingis Bowl on Friday night tastes bittersweet against the Mavericks. Her ex-franchise player Porzingis looked so good when he beat for more than three quarters before getting fouls.
But the Knicks needed it urgently.
"This is a great trust-builder," said coach David Fizdale. "We had to see the fruits of our work."
As much as Porzingis concentrated on the points and finished with 28, it looked like only two players in the squad. The Porzingis-Luka Doncic Show brought together 67 points, but that was not enough.
Porzingis-Doncic will be a spectacular hit duo, but Porzingis-Ntilikina (both Knicks lottery picks) could have been a decent all-round Euro pair in the Eastern Conference in another universe. That's why Freitag has a sour aftertaste.
Ntilikina got better from game to game and Friday was probably the best appearance of his NBA career. He was brilliant from beyond the 3-point line and has been following Doncic in defense, especially late.
"Fantastic," said Fizdale. "Luka is a nightmare. Frank has made it hard.
Maybe the Knicks did not have to put Dennis Smith Jr. in the Porzingis after Ntilikina made a soft touch and buried 4 out of 5 out of the 3-point area in a 1
"Frank looked great," said Porzingis, keeping in touch with the Frenchman, "I know he's in the works. I know his work ethic and way of thinking. I'm happy to see him play and play well. It shows what he is capable of. He played defensively all the time, but tonight he started offensively. It is good to see that he finally shows what he is capable of. It's shit that it was against us today. "
Porzingis did not look bad in his eighth match after 20 months absence, scoring a lot of goals but stuttering in the last 10 minutes to finish the fourth quarter 1 of 5. Porzingis was the worst in the plus-minus range
"I felt good today," Porzingis said, "I was just trying to relax out there and have the game come to me and make good punches. Be aggressive, but at the same time relaxed, I have considered these last games, I felt more relaxed than any other game. "
Read more about the Knicks in the latest episode of the Big Apple Buckets podcast:
 But main defender Marcus Morris rose in the fourth quarter, scoring 29 points and moving out of the 3-point 4-on-8 range
"He is our beginning Leader, "said Fizdale. "We follow him."
Julius Randle was a troop (19 points) and recovered 30 seconds before the rebound, while Bobby Portis showed the life of the bank.
Smith returned to the Knicks, but observed Ntilikina was not afraid on Friday from the team hotel. He walked right past the 7-foot-3 Porzingis, flew to a right-handed dunk and showed rare hops and fire. Porzingis blocked it, a foul was called and then knocked over. All ball. Nevertheless, it was an impressive scene for both Knicks lottery games.
Achieving this profit could be significant.
"I think every game is really important to us," said Ntilikina. "Just now. We need victories.
Even with the kinks of 61-57 at halftime it was hard to see how silky soft Porzingis looked as a shotmaker.
Porzingis scored inside and out and finished the first half with 18 points in 16 minutes – seven baskets at 12 tries. But the Knicks led 61-57, then built a lead of 11 points toward the end of the third quarter and stayed strong for a change in the fourth quarter while Porzingis faded.
In a lousy late game for Porzingi, the Latvian threw up an airball, then fouled Morris off the 3-point line.
Porzingis got a loud applause during the warm-up, but it's nothing compared to the boos he'll receive in the garden next week when he's asked to be negotiated out of New York.
"All the time," Morris said when asked if he was in the ears of the players. "What else do we have 74 games? That's unheard of.
Nonetheless, this game should be seen as a night in which the Knick's momentum diminishes and the poor mood of trading with Porzingis is eliminated.
The Knicks have taken a lot of heat because of Porzingis and did not make his idiosyncratic brother / agent Janis happier]