"I know our fans are better than Brooklyn's fans," Kristaps Porzingis said with a smile after Thursday's practice. "It will be a good game. Brooklyn, they're struggling this season. But they will try to win the rivalry, as we want to win."
Porzingis, who was the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, has been a pleasant surprise for the 9-10 Knicks, averaging 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
He's also attempted to convert some of New York City's Nets fans to Knick supporters.
"Sometimes I see someone with a Brooklyn hat on, I say, 'What is that? You need a Knicks hat,'" said Porzingis, who was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month on Thursday. "I joke around with them. Sometimes I see them. Not as many as Knicks fans, though."
The Nets come into Madison Square Garden with a 5-13 overall record and just a 1-10 record when playing away from the Barclays Center. But they did sweep the Knicks last season.
"Obviously we want to win the game [Friday] on our court with our fans there," Porzingis said. "It would be even better to beat Brooklyn."