Without Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks needed others to step up to beat the Charlotte Hornets Monday night, and Kristaps Porzingis did just that. He had 22 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks, all in the first half.
Dallas(14-13), who never trailed against Charlotte(15-14), led by as much as 30 points in this game. They took a 70-43 lead into halftime and would defeat the Hornets 120-96 at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks, who have struggled with shooting of late, especially from three-point range, shot 51.8% from the floor, including 19/41(46%) from downtown.
Dallas is 5-0 this season when they shoot 50% or better.
Porzingis, who played only nine minutes in the second half, finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks.
“He was great,” Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said about Porzingis after the game. “He was great from the start. On the defensive end, he was great on the help, protecting the rim. Offensively, I thought, again letting the game come to him, letting the ball find him. He was great. I thought the bench, the energy from the voices over there even before the game started, got guys into the game. On a back-to-back, it’s easy to have that built-in excuse against a very talented offensive team, and I thought the guys did a great job.”
The Mavericks were playing the second half of a back-to-back after they defeated the Thunder Sunday, but according to Porzingis, he felt fresher against Charlotte than OKC.
“It’s weird, but I almost feel better on the second game of a back-to-back than when I have to get my body going for the first one,” Porzingis said. “I felt good. Some games are physically more taxing. Yesterday wasn’t one of those games. But I felt better today than I did yesterday in a weird way. My body, once it gets going, I just need to keep it up. Even on off days, I try to get some work in so I stay moving. I’m still young, but some days my body gets a little rusty. I’ve just got to keep working.”
The last time the Mavericks played the Hornets was the preseason, and in that game, they defeated Charlotte by 68 points. Trey Burke, who scored 22 points off the bench Monday, said he thought about that preseason game.
During the game, I personally thought about that,” Burke said. “I figured that they would have this game marked already, so I tried to continue to let them know we can’t come out flat like we usually do and try to regain the lead in the third or fourth quarter.”
Dallas gets back at it Wednesday night against the Lakers; However, Doncic will miss his third straight game with a sore ankle.
Watch as Kidd talks win over Hornets: