Mavs’ Carlisle on win over Bucks: ‘Really proud of the team’

In the Mavericks’ 102-93 road loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, Kristaps Porzingis was rolling in the first three quarters. Porzingis was 10/19 from the field and had 23 points entering the fourth quarter. However, in the fourth quarter, Porzingis did not have any field goal attempts and ended the game with 23 points.

On Thursday night against the Bucks(32-19), the Mavericks trailed 84-80 entering the fourth quarter after a 12-0 run by Milwaukee to end the third. However, this fourth quarter belonged to Porzingis. He went 4/4 from the field and scored 11 of his 26 points in the quarter as the Mavericks defeated Milwaukee 116-101 at American Airlines Center. 

Porzingis also added 17 rebounds. Luka Doncic led the way for Dallas with 27 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, while the Bucks, who were without Giannis Antetokounmpo(left knee soreness), was led by Donte DiVincenzo’s 22 points.

After the game, Porzingis discussed his impact in the fourth quarter.

“It felt good to come in right away and hit that pump-fake 3,” he said. “After you hit one like that, you feel good. I got a couple more, and that was it. We made a good run and were able to seal the game.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was happy with Porzingis and the play of the team against Milwaukee.

“I thought [Kristaps Porzingis] played a great all-around game tonight,” Carlisle said. “This is really a great sign on the second night of a back-to-back this kind of performance — 10-for-20, plus-17 in the game, 17 boards. Really proud of the team. Great bounce back after the disappointment of last night.”

This was a nice bounce-back win for the Mavericks. Obviously, not having Giannis on the court helped, but Dallas faced some adversity in this game and responded well. Also, they gained a game in the standings after the Blazers fell to the Jazz on Thursday night, so this win has a lot of benefits. The Mavericks are off until Sunday when they continue their three-game homestand against the Spurs. 

Doncic on Mavs’ loss to Rockets: ‘Anybody can play a bad game, right’

Coming into Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets(14-37), the Dallas Mavericks(28-22) had won a season-high five straight, including defeating the Utah Jazz on Monday night, who have the best record in basketball. Conversely, the Houston Rockets had lost five straight and have the second-worst record in basketball, but that’s why you play the game. 

Led by John Wall’s 31 points and Christian Wood’s 22 points, the Rockets shocked the Mavs 102-93 at Toyota Center. Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic had 23 points apiece for the Mavs. Porzingis also chipped in with a team-high 12 rebounds. 

The Rockets led for most of the game and took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter. Dallas tied the game with under three minutes to go, but Houston went on a 13-4 run to close out the game and get the victory.

“Disappointing loss,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “We gotta be better at the beginning of the game and carry it through, and we didn’t do that.”‘

Doncic, who was 9/26 from the field, added: “Anybody can play a bad game, right? So, we played a horrible game as a team. We just have to flush it out and continue to get better.”

Back to Porzingis, who returned after missing the last two games with a wrist injury, he was 10/19 from the field entering the fourth quarter. However, in that quarter, Porzingis did not have a field goal attempt. When asked why he was not involved in the offense in the fourth, he said the following.

“Good question,” Porzingis said. “It’s just the plays we were running. It happened before also.”

Porzingis not getting touches in the fourth is a problem, and maybe that’s on the play calls or the players for not getting him the ball. No matter what happened, this was a bad loss and one of those games you would love to have back, especially when you’re chasing the Blazers for sixth-seed in the Western Conference. 

Fortunately for Dallas, they’ll have an opportunity to redeem themselves on Thursday night as they host the Milwaukee Bucks.

Notes:

Dallas was without Maxi Kleber(Right Lower Leg; Soreness) and Trey Burke (Injury/Illness – Left Calf; Strain) on Wednesday night.

Wall returned on Wednesday night after missing four games due to swelling in the knee.

Mavs’ Richardson: ‘I think we have a lot of talent from the top to the bottom’

In January, the Dallas Mavericks(28-21) went to Utah to play the Jazz(38-12) in a two-game set, and it was not pretty. Dallas was defeated by double-figures in both games, and was down by 20 points or more in both contests.

Two months later, the Jazz traveled to Dallas to battle the Mavericks on Monday, and this time, it was a much different story. Dallas had five players in double figures led by Luka Doncic’s game-high 31 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists. Also, Dorian Finney-Smith had a season-high 23 points, and Jalen Brunson added 20 points off the bench as the Mavericks defeated the Jazz 111-103.

Dallas snapped Utah’s nine-game win streak with the win, which was the longest active win streak in the NBA.

“Every win gives you confidence,” Doncic said. “Any NBA team can beat you, so every win gives you confidence. Obviously, this team is first place in the West, and so it is a big win, and we just have to keep rolling like this.”

The Mavericks are rolling right now. They have now won five straight games, marking their longest win streak of the season. Dallas has won those five games by an average of 13.8 points. In addition, the team has won 13 of its last 18 games and 20 of its last 28 games.

“I like what we’re doing,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “I like the direction that we’re going. But if you ask the guys in that locker room, they’re going to tell you we haven’t done anything yet; there’s a long way to go here. There’s a lot of ground to make up that we lost early. We’re trying to get into the top six. We’re really not looking at the standings, but we’re just looking game to game.”

Dallas was without their second-leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis(wrist), but without KP, others stepped up and got it done, which speaks to the Mavericks’ depth. Josh Richardson, who had 17 points against the Jazz, discussed how deep Dallas is this season.

“I think we have a lot of talent from the top to the bottom,” he said. “Anytime you got a guy like Tim [Hardaway], JB [Jalen Brunson], Trey [Burke], guys who can shift the whole momentum of a game coming off the bench, and that’s always a big help. I think we have the personal that anybody any night can really hurt you.”

Dallas is getting it done, and hopefully, they can get Porzingis back sooner than later, but for now, they enjoy a big win over the best team in basketball.

Mavs’ Doncic named Western Conference Player of the Week

The NBA announced today that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, March 29 through Sunday, April 4, marking the third time in his career, and second time this season, he has received the honor (Nov. 18-24, 2019; Jan. 4-10, 2021).

Doncic (6-7, 230) joins Dirk Nowitzki (2002-03, 2006-07, 2009-10, 2010-11) and Josh Howard (2006-07) as the only Mavericks to garner the award multiple times in the same season. He also joins Nowitzki (16 times), Michael Finley (three) and Jason Kidd (three) as the only Dallas players to win the award at least three times in his career.

Doncic led the Mavericks to a 4-0 week on the road with averages of 28.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 54.4% (43-79 FG) from the floor and 40.5% (15-37 3FG) from 3-point range as Dallas won by an average of 15.3 points.

The two-time All-Star recorded 36 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 113-108 win at Boston (3/31). The game was Doncic’s 15th 30-5-5 effort this season to lead the NBA (tied with Denver’s Jokić).

He opened the week by scoring 25 points to go with three rebounds, seven assists and two steals in a 127-106 win at Oklahoma City (3/29) to help the Mavericks win the season series 2-1.

Doncic contributed 26 points at both New York (4/2) and Washington (4/3). He added eight rebounds, seven assists and one block in the 99-86 win at Madison Square Garden. In the 109-87 victory against the Wizards, Doncic had eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block.

In 43 games this season, Doncic is averaging 28.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.8 assists on a career-high 48.8% from the floor. Among league leaders, the Slovenian ranks fifth in scoring, fourth in assists and fourth in triple-doubles (nine).

Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday joins Doncic as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.

Defense leads the way for Dallas against Washington

Both the Mavericks(27-21) and Wizards(17-31) were shorthanded on Saturday night in D.C. Washington was without their leading- scorer Bradley Beal(right hip contusion) and Rui Hachimura(shoulder), while the Mavericks were without three starters in Kristaps Porzingis(rest), Maxi Kleber(left leg injury), and Josh Richardson(left calf tightness).

With both teams depleted, it was the next man up, and the next men stepped up for Dallas. Boban Marjanovic stepped in for Porzingis and had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Tim Hardaway Jr. stepped in for Richardson and scored 16 points, and newly-acquired Nicolo Melli stepped in for Kleber to score 10 points, and of course, Luka Doncic led the way for the Mavericks with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six assists as Dallas defeated Washington 109-87. 

Dallas had another solid defensive effort against Washington. On Friday night, the Mavericks held the Knicks to 86 points, and three quarters of 20 points or less, which is one of the reasons the team won, according to head coach Rick Carlisle, who returned to the bench on Saturday after a COVID-19 scare forced him to miss the win against New York.

“20 point defensive quarter in the third, 20 point defensive quarter in the fourth, and that was the key,” Carlisle said.

The Wizards(113.5 ppg) do score the basketball at a high level, and even without Beal and Hachimura in the lineup, Carlisle was still impressed with how the Mavericks defended. 

“We knew that we could defend a lot better than we were the first month of the season, the first five weeks,” Carlisle said. “But, this team is showing you what’s it’s capable of. The game last night in New York, holding them in the 80s, I think it was. Tonight, holding these guys to 87. I don’t care if Beal’s out, Hachimura’s out. These guys can score.” 

Dallas is starting to look like the team that many thought could possibly be when the season started. They ended their five-game road trip 4-1 and have won four straight. They have to continue to stay healthy and stay committed to playing defense.

On Monday night, the Mavericks return home to battle the team with the best record in basketball, the Utah Jazz. 

Photo: @Mavs/Twitter

Porzingis on win over Knicks: ‘Defense won us this game’

It was not the prettiest of games, but in the NBA, a win is a win, and the Mavericks(26-21) got another road win as they defeated the Knicks(24-25) 99-86 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Dallas was without their head coach Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday morning. However, Carlisle, who stayed back at the team hotel, revealed that he was fully vaccinated in January and believed the test was a false positive. 

After the game, it was disclosed by assistant Jamahl Mosley that the 61-year-old Carlisle was cleared to travel to Washington with the team as they finish up their five-game road trip against the Wizards on Saturday night.

Without Carlisle, Mosley coached the game for the Mavericks, and he got an enormous effort out of Luka Doncic and the team on the defensive end.

Doncic finished with a game-high 26 points, including 13 points in the fourth quarter and Jalen Brunson added 15 points. For the Knicks, Immanuel Quickley led the way with 20 points.

Dallas had a workmanlike performance on Friday night, which got it done against the Knicks. 

“Sometimes you’re going to win ugly,” Doncic said after the game. “You gotta win ugly. That means when things don’t go right, you gotta step up together and win the game. I think Maxi(Kleber) did an amazing job today with (Julius)Randle(5-20 FG, 14 points). He was tremendous.”

Dallas led by three going into the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks were able to push the lead to as much as 15 in the final quarter. The Knicks were held to 17 points in the quarter and shot 26% from the field, and according to Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 14 points on Friday night, the defense was the reason for the victory.

“In the end, defense won us the game,” he said. 

Porzingis, who was selected by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and spent three seasons in New York before demanding a trade and being shipped to Dallas in 2019, was booed every time he touched the ball by the Garden faithful, which he expected.

“The reaction is what I expected again, of course,” Porzingis said. “I’m happy we got the win.”

The Mavericks have now won three straight, and it appears they may have found themselves at this point of the season, which is a good sign with 25 games left. 

Hardaway Jr. on Williamson: ‘That guy is very, very strong’

On Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans(20-25), the Dallas Mavericks(23-21) were without their top two players in Luka Doncic(illness) and Kristaps Porzingis(rest).

Dallas battled and fought hard against the Pelicans, but they just did not have enough. Zion Williamson scored 13 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans defeated the Mavericks 112-103 at Smoothie Kings Center.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavericks with 30 points off the bench and got the Mavericks back into the game and helped Dallas take a lead after they trailed by 15 points in the first quarter, but this game was all about Williamson, who at times, was unstoppable. 

According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, Williamson was Shaquille O’Neal-like with point guard skills.

“This is a Shaquille O’Neal type force of nature with a point guard skill-set,” Carlisle said. “And if you back off of him, he’ll just take up space and keep coming at you… You gotta have a lot of courage to stand in there and get run over by that guy.”

One guy who dared to take a charge from Williamson was Hardaway Jr., who took a charge from Williamson in the second quarter, and after the game, he discussed how it felt.

“Taking a charge, let alone picking him up off the ground, helping him up,” he said. “That guy is very, very strong. Strong as an ox. He’s a great player, heck of a player. He does an amazing job attacking the basket, getting his teammates involved; he’s excellent at his strengths… He’s doing an amazing job, hard to defend him.”

The 20-year-old Williamson is a load and can be a tough guard. He does have some Shaq in his game, but a better comparison is probably Charles Barkley because of his size, ball-handling ability, and athleticism. However, to be compared to Shaq is an honor.

The Mavericks continue their five-game road trip on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Watch as Hardaway Jr. talks Zion Williamson:

 

 

Mavs’ Carlisle on playing without Doncic against Indy: ‘He’s an MVP candidate, so you’re going to miss a guy like that in a lot of ways”

The Dallas Mavericks(23-20) were without their best player, their All-Star, Luka Doncic(back tightness) on Friday night as they hosted the Indiana Pacers(21-23), and without Doncic, who leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists per game, it was a struggle.

Dallas trailed by as much as 15 points in the first half, and it was an uphill climb from there. Dallas did cut the lead to four in the fourth quarter, but Indiana went on a 14-2 run to put the game away and defeat the Mavericks 109-94.

Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists, and Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points and six rebounds.

After the game, Mavericks head Rick Carlisle discussed playing without Doncic.

“He’s (Doncic) an MVP candidate, so you’re going to miss a guy like that in a lot of ways,” Carlisle said. “We had enough talent and guys available tonight to win this game; we didn’t execute the way we needed to. We didn’t defend well. We didn’t put defense as a priority in the first half. In the second half we did, we made a significant amount of progress, but it was too late. Hopefully, Luka [Doncic] will be able to play tomorrow night — we’ll see. If not, it’s going to be next man up again.”

Without Doncic in the lineup, Kristaps Porzingis stepped up for the Mavericks. In a season-high 38 minutes, Porzingis finished with 31 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds. 

“I just wanted to play my game,” Porzingis said. “I wanted to be aggressive but also involve everybody and make sure we were playing good basketball. But yes, tonight I felt like so many little things didn’t go our way.”

Earlier in the season, Porzingis was on a minutes restriction, and he lobbied to play more minutes, and according to the four-year player, he enjoys playing big minutes.

“I felt good,” he said. “I am the kind of player that always wants to play more minutes and be out there and help the team.”

With the season-high 38 minutes on Friday night, it should be interesting to see if Porzingis will play on Saturday night as the team begins their five-game road trip in New Orleans to face the Pelicans. If not, Dallas could be without both Doncic and Porzingis, which could make for a tough night in New Orleans.

Notes:

Before the game, Mavericks President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Donnie Nelson discussed the acquisition of J.J. Redick and Nicolò Melli, who Dallas acquired from New Orleans before the trade deadline in exchange for James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, and 2021 second round pick and cash considerations.

Nelson on Melli:

“I think if you look at the success of Maxi Kleber, you can see a little bit of a path [to success] there. He’s a guy that can clearly make the long-ball, he’s a great teammate, can swing a little bit [between] a little 4 [and] a little 5. He’s going to have an opportunity to come here and fight for some backup minutes. I was visiting with Luka [Dončić] yesterday and he obviously has memories of him in Europe and a great deal of respect, so we think he’s going to be a really nice addition for us.”

Nelson on Redick:

“I think JJ [Redick] obviously is no stranger to playoff intensity and big shots in big moments. To put another shooter next to Luka [Dončić] is really important for us.”

Doncic on Mavericks: ‘We been playing good lately’

Throughout this season, the Dallas Mavericks have been trying to find their rhythm, which has been difficult due to injuries and issues with health and safety protocols. 

However, Dallas(23-19) is healthy at this point and has a full squad. The Mavericks are 15-6 in the last 21 games, including Wednesday night’s 128-108 road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves(10-34).

Kristaps Portzingis, who led the Mavericks with 29 points on Wednesday night, believes the game against the Timberwolves was a must-win situation, which he discussed after the game

“A must-win because if we want to be the type of team that we think in our mind we can be, then these games are must-wins,” Porzingis said. “Obviously, you slip, and anything can happen, and the other team can have a great game, but these are the type of games that we cannot let slip and not get the W, so we took care of business tonight.”

Dallas is now seventh in the Western Conference. Ideally, they want to get to at least the sixth spot to avoid being in the Play-in games. Before Thursday’s action, Dallas was 2.5 games behind Portland for that sixth seed.

Luka Doncic, who had 15 points against Minnesota on Wednesday night, believes Dallas is playing well, but he thinks they can be better.

“We been playing good lately,” he said. “Like I said, we can still improve. There’s still a long way to go.”

There is still a lot of basketball left for the Mavericks. However, they should be happy about the way they are playing right now.

Dallas hosts the Pacers on Friday night before heading out on a five-game road trip starting Saturday against the Pelicans.

Notes:

On Thursday, Dallas acquired J.j. Redick and Nicolo Melli from the Pelicans for James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, and a second-round pick.

Doncic on Porzingis’ performance against Blazers: ‘Everybody can have a bad game’

The Portland Trailblazers(25-16) backcourt carried the team on Friday night against the Mavericks. C.J. McCollum had 11 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and Damian Lillard had 31 as the Blazers defeated the Mavericks(21-19) 125-119 in the first game of their two-game set at Moda Center.

Dallas was led by Luka Doncic, who had 38 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists on Friday night.

The Mavericks had a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter and led by as much as eight in the final period, but the Blazers made the plays down the stretch. Portland took a 111-110 lead with just over four minutes left after a Carmelo Anthony dunk, and they never looked back.

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle felt that Dallas did not do enough down the stretch to get the win.

“Down the stretch, we weren’t able to get the ball in the basketball, and they made plays offensively,” Carlisle said. “They made shots, so that’s what got away from us. We’re going to have to do better on the boards, we’re going to have to do better with turnovers, and we’re going have to play better overall.”

Mavericks F/C Kristaps Porzingis struggled on Friday night. He shot 3-11 from the field and scored only 11 points. According to Doncic, the Mavericks have to get Porzingis more opportunities in the post.

“Everybody can have a bad game,” Doncic said. “Not perfect in life every day. We gotta find him more on the post, and he just got to get to work on the post.”

Carlisle added on Porzingis: “He got off to a slow start, and we have just got to involve him a little bit more.”

This was another playoff type of game against another playoff team for Dallas, so you have to be at your best to win these types of games. You do expect more out of Porzingis, However, he has been good of late. In the month of March, and not counting this game, Porzinigis is averaging 20.2 points and 10.5. So, to Doncic’s point, everybody has bad games. 

Hopefully, for Dallas, Porzingis bounces back against the Blazers on Sunday night.