Porzingis, who underwent surgery in October to address a lateral meniscus injury in his left knee, played 21 minutes in his season debut. Despite the minutes restriction, the All-Star forward put up 16 shots -- tying Tim Hardaway Jr. for the second most on the team Wednesday -- and recorded four rebounds and two blocks.
Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic had 34 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists as Dallas earned a 104-93 win over the Hornets.
"When both of those guys are out there at the same time it's a game changer for us," Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. "They are two guys who can play on the inside and space the court on the outside."
The 25-year-old Porzingis missed the Mavericks' first nine games because of his knee issue. He has been a full participant in practices over the past two weeks as he neared a return.
Porzingis, who missed a season and a half while recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, suffered his most recent knee injury in the opener of the Mavericks' playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in August. He appeared in the next two games of the series before the ailment forced him to sit out.
Porzingis averaged 20.4 points and 9.5 rebounds during his first season with the Mavericks in 2019-20.