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Carmelo Anthony praises Kristaps Porzingis for defending himself in scuffle (vid)

New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis got involved in a scuffle with Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss during Tuesday’s 113-111 loss. And Carmelo Anthony couldn’t be prouder of Porzingis for sticking up for himself.

It was already chippy between Porzingis and Chriss before the third-quarter incident, with the two butting heads to such an extent during the first half that Porznigis pushed Chriss and had to be restrained by Joakim Noah. But Porzingis finally decided enough was enough and that’s when things got really heated.

After Porznigis affected Chriss’ shot on the defensive end, he stumbled over Eric Bledsoe as Chriss pulled him to the ground. The Knicks second-year player shot up and shoved Chriss in the chest.

After a review of the dustup, officials assessed Chriss with a flagrant foul 1 and Porzingis, Brandon Jennings, Chriss and Bledsoe received technical fouls.

“There was some word exchange before that,” Porzingis said of the scuffle after the game, via Newsday. “I was angry. But as soon as the play was over, as soon as that situation was over, the next thing I was thinking about was making those free throws. That was all that was in my mind.”

Anthony, meanwhile, praised Porzingis for refusing to back down.

“He needed to get like that,” Anthony said. “Sometimes people try to take advantage of his kindness. I thought it was getting a little bit too much out there for him. He reacted. We had his back out there.”

Porzingis, who scored 34 points before fouling out in overtime during the loss, agreed with Anthony’s assessment of the situation.

“I don’t really think about it,” he said. “It’s natural that obviously I’m going to stand up for myself.”

A scuffle last season with Atlanta Hawks forward Kent Bazemore similarly elicited praise for Porzingis from his teammates. And with Tuesday’s dustup, chances are good Porzingis earned that much more respect from his fellow Knicks players.