The Dallas Mavericks(9-4) have now won two straight and five of their last six after defeating the Denver Nuggets(9-5) 111-101 at American Airlines Center on Monday.
The last time these two teams faced off was a few weeks ago in Denver, where the Nuggets routed Dallas 106-75.
Dallas got revenge on Monday night! After trailing most of the second half, Dallas went on a 19-5 run to start the fourth to take control of the game.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Dallas’ win over Denver.
The Great for the Dallas Mavericks:
-Kristaps Porzingis has been great after missing five games with a back injury. On Monday, he finished with 29 points (5-8 3FG), 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. In the last five games, Porzingis is averaging 23.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
“KP was great again on both sides of the ball,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said postgame. “We asked him to not just score for us, but we also asked him to play defense on the MVP (Nikola Jokić) tonight — and he did his best. When you look at KP at the 5, we don’t want to have him out there for 40 minutes at the 5. I think for the journey of this season, that’s just too many minutes at the 5. For us to get him at the 5, tonight was good, and we’ll continue to get him at the 5.”
The Mavericks improved to 13-5 all-time when Porzingis goes for 25-plus points and 10-plus boards.
-Luka Doncic finished with 23 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds. Doncic has now recorded at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists in each of his last six games. It is now the longest streak of 20-5-5 across the NBA this season. Tonight was his seventh double-double of the season and his fourth game with 10-plus assists.
Doncic did leave late in the game with a lower leg injury, and according to the team, will be out Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns with left knee and left ankle sprains.
-Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 points for Dallas tonight, which included 13 points down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Hardaway Jr. added a season-high seven rebounds and a season-high-tying four assists for the Mavs. The Mavericks are now 6-2 when Hardaway Jr. goes for 15-plus points.
-Jalen Brunson had 17 points and six assists off the bench for the Mavericks. This is Brunson’s seventh consecutive game, scoring in double figures, and he is averaging 18.9 points per game on 57.5% shooting from the field in that stretch. The Mavericks bench outscored Denver 27-16 tonight. Dallas improved to 6-0 when the bench unit outscores the opponent’s bench unit.
Fourth Quarter: Dallas outscored the Nuggets 32-16 in the fourth quarter, led by Hardaway Jr.’s 13 points. The Mavericks were sizzling in the fourth as they shot 59% from the floor. In addition, they held the Nuggets to 32% from the field, including 1/8 from downtown. Dallas went small in the fourth as Dorian Finney-Smith got some run at center, and it worked.
The Not so Great for the Mavericks:
Second Quarter: Dallas was outscored 26-14 by Denver. They shot 22.7% from the field in the quarter, and ultimately, the Nuggets took a nine-point lead into halftime.
You have to be happy about the play of Porzingis. If he continues to play at this level, the Mavericks are going to give teams fits.
“It is all about confidence for KP,” Hardaway Jr. said. “Just knowing him personally, on and off the floor, he needs to stay active. When he is active in the pick-and-roll situations, picking-and-popping, taking the ball off-dribble off his rebounds, posting up and doing the little things like blocking shots and talking on defense, when he is engaged like that, we can be a dangerous team.”
However, Dallas is hoping Doncic’s injuries are not severe, which according to reports, it’s not.
“Luka walked off on his own power,” Kidd said. “I think he got rolled up on his lower left leg.”
The Mavericks have struggled with teams above .500 this season(1-3). Monday’s win over Denver was their first win against a team above .500.
Dallas begins a four-game road trip with a two-game set in Phoenix against the red-hot Suns, who have won nine straight.
Best of the Rest:
-Nikola Jokić led Denver with a season-high 35 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists tonight; Monte Morris (17), Aaron Gordon (14), and Austin Rivers (12) all started and scored in double figures for Denver.
Listen below as Kidd and Porzingis talk win over Denver: