Former Wizards guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Davis Bertans returned to D.C. Friday night, and Kristaps Porzingis battled his former team for the first time since the trade as the Mavericks continued their four-game road trip against the Wizards.
Porzingis, who Dallas traded to Washington for Dinwiddie and Bertans before the trade deadline in February, had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a team-high 35 points, including six threes, as the Wizards, who led by as many as 34 points and never trailed, won their fourth straight and defeated the Mavericks 135-103.
Mavs’ Luka Doncic had a game-high 36 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
“We called up the huddle, and I told him, ‘KP, since they let you go, we’re going to beat them up for you,'” Caldwell-Pope said after the win. “That was the first thing I said to him, and we did exactly that.”
Porzingis added: “I don’t want to say it was a personal game, but it’s always fun to compete against your former team.”
There was a narrative in Dallas that there was a rift between Porzingis and Doncic, but according to Porzingis, that was far from the case.
“There’s no issue between us,” Porzingis said. “We were super cool and would hang out. Luka’s a cool dude. He’s super chill.
Dallas thought they had a dynamic duo with Porzingis and Doncic, but after a couple of injury-filled seasons for Porzingis, the duo could never get out of the first round, and ultimately, the Mavericks felt they needed to make a move.
“Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out the way everybody expects or the way we saw it, and it is what it is,” Porzingis said. “It was cool to play with a generational superstar talent like him(Doncic).”
Regarding Dinwiddie, who, along with Bertans, was given a video tribute Friday night, he was roundly criticized on his way out the door in Washington.
However, according to Dinwiddie, what was said about him was not true, and what has happened to the two teams after the trade validates what he said.
“I said what I said about the organization,” Dinwiddie said. “I know that they’ve since made comments about their own locker room that kind of validated what I’ve said about the situation… At the end of the day, I think this stretch of basketball, post All-Star break, has kind of validated what I’ve said… Let them go to the offseason, and let us go to the playoffs and keep it rocking.”
Dinwiddie, who signed a three-year, $54 million deal in the offseason, helped the Wizards get off to a 10-3 start, but things fell apart, and ultimately, they shipped him to Dallas.
Dallas is 13-6 after the All-Star break; Conversely, the Wizards are 7-12 in the same timeframe.
At this point, Dinwiddie is right. Washington’s focus is keeping Bradley Beal and putting together a competitive roster going forward. At the same time, Dallas has to focus on getting homecourt advantage in the first round and getting out of the first round for the first time since 2011.