Porzingis: ‘I just feel better when I’m playing longer stretches’

Mavericks F/C Kristaps Porzingis wanted more minutes and to play longer stretches in games, and in team’s 127-122 home victory over the Timberwolves on Monday night, he got that. 

After returning from injury, Porzingis was on a minutes restriction, but he wanted to play longer stretches in games, and recently, he has been doing that. Porzingis played nearly nine minutes in the first quarter and scored 15 points, including 3/4 from three-point range, and ultimately, the Mavericks would score 43 points in the first quarter against Minnesota. The 43 points were the most in any quarter for Dallas this season.

Porzingis finished the game with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks on Monday night. All three of those stats either tied or broke season-highs for him.

The five-year veteran is averaging 20.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on career-highs of 46.0 FG% and 85.4 FT% this season, and according to him, he is at his best when he is playing longer stretches in games. 

“I’m just more calm when I know I’m not coming out early,” Porzingis said. “And for me as a big, I just feel better when I’m playing longer stretches because I don’t have the ball in my hands the whole time, and I have to get in that rhythm and find my opportunities and find my situations. It’s definitely working better. Also, I’m spending more time on the court, playing more games, playing more games with these guys, and all of that adding up. All of that it’s coming together, and we’re playing better basketball.”

Porzingis explained why he was playing shorter stretches when he first returned from injury.

“They (team medical staff) just wanted to make sure I’m fresh every time I’m on the court; that’s why I was playing shorter stretches,” he said. “Now I’m playing multiple games and feeling better; I’m getting those longer stretches. It’s how we played in the Bubble, and in the Bubble, that was the best basketball I’ve played here in Dallas. That’s how I feel the most comfortable.”

Having Porzingis in the lineup is huge for Mavericks and having him playing longer minutes is even better. Ultimately, having him healthy gives the Mavericks their best chance of making noise in the Western Conference.

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