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Kristaps Porzingis roundly booed by Knicks fans in return to Madison Square Garden

Kristaps Porzingis did not receive a warm welcome in his return to Madison Square Garden. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

The last time Kristaps Porzingis laced up his sneakers in Madison Square Garden, he represented the New York Knicks’ best hope for the future.

That was 2018. More than a season later, Porzingis made his first appearance at MSG as a member of the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

Fans were not happy to see him.

Knicks fans lustily booed the Mavericks big man during pregame introductions.

They kept up the jeers every time he touched the ball early in the first quarter while saving a choice chant for a trip to the free-throw line.

Porzingis had a strong game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. But he was mostly ineffective in the fourth quarter as the Knicks held on for a 106-103 win.

“It was pretty loud,” Porzingis said of the boos. ... “Their fans are really passionate, of course. It was no different tonight.

“I don’t know if it’s fair or not. It’s what they know. It’s what they’ve heard. I don’t really think about that too much. It is what it is.”

Does Kristaps deserve the jeers?

It’s been a rough go for Knicks fans for — well — a long time. Watching the Knicks lose Porzingis via trade and subsequently fail to secure an elite free agent or win the Zion Williamson draft lottery was a bitter pill, indeed.

But Porzingis didn’t trade Porzingis or screw up the offseason. Knicks management did. Owner James Dolan, team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry are the rightful objects of Knicks fan ire.

Ah, but there is the fact that Porzingis asked his way out of New York. And the sexual-assault accusation Porzingis left behind when he skipped town that’s conveniently become an afterthought since the Mavericks season began.

On second thought, boo away Knicks fans.

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