Mavs’ Porzingis: ‘He(Luka Doncic) takes so much pressure off everybody else’

The Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis came to play against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. 

The two scored 32 points apiece, while Doncic, who had a triple-double, added 15 assists and 12 rebounds as Dallas defeated the Spurs on the road 123-109. 

Dallas(8-4), who led by as many as 27 points on Friday night, has now played and beaten the Spurs(4-8) three times this season.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Mavs’ win against San Antonio:

The Great for the Dallas Mavericks:

-Luka Doncic messed around and got his first triple-double of the season. Doncic is now sixth in NBA history in 30-point triple-doubles as he was 11/23 from the floor, including six threes. According to Mavs PR, Doncic has joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to record six-plus career games of 30-plus points, 12-plus rebounds, and 15-plus assists.

-Kristaps Porzingis had his best game of the season as he scored 32 points on 12/22 shooting from the field, including three threes, grabbed seven rebounds, and three blocks. It was Porzingis’ 28th career 30-point game (14th with the Mavs). This is Porzingis'(22 points and 12 rebounds) second straight strong game as he had a double-double against the Bulls.

-Dorian Finney-Smith was solid on Friday night. He had 15 points, including three threes, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, and a block. This was Smith’s first-career game of 15-plus, five-plus rebounds, three-plus assists.

Third Quarter: Dallas outscored San Antonio 34-20 in the quarter. The Mavericks, who led 68-57 at halftime, had their largest lead of 27 in third. They shot 52% from the field. Both Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson scored eight points in the quarter.

Not so Great for the Mavericks:

-Not much to add here. Actually, nothing to add. 

Bottom Line:

This season, Dallas has the lowly Spurs’ number. However, a win is a win, and you beat the teams that are on your schedule. It will get more challenging for the Mavericks as the next five games will be against the Nuggets(home), @Suns(2x), and @Clippers(2x).

“He(Luka Doncic) takes so much pressure off everybody else,” Porzingis said postgame. “Makes everybody else better and get more open looks.”

What’s Next:

The Mavericks return home on Monday to battle the Denver Nuggets.

Best of the Rest:

-The Spurs had seven players in double figures led by Devin Vassell’s 20 points off the bench.

-Jalen Brunson is a weapon off the Mavs’ bench. He had 17 points and three assists.

Listen below as Mavs head coach Jason Kidd talks Doncic, Porzingis, and win against Spurs:

Mavs’ Finney-Smith: ‘If we come out how we did tonight(against Nets), we can beat anybody’

The Dallas Mavericks are in playoff mode right now as they fight to stay out of the Play-in Tournament, and on Thursday night at American Airlines Center, Dallas defeated the Brooklyn Nets(43-24) 113-109.

With the win and the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers on Thursday night, Dallas(38-28) has sole possession of the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Dallas has a one-game lead on both the Lakers and Blazers.

Dallas was led by Luka Doncic’s 24 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23. Kyrie Irving had a season and game-high 45 points for Brooklyn.

“We’ve got a little momentum here; we’ve got to keep it going,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “The game tomorrow is obviously very, very important because of everything that is going on with the standings. We’ll get some rest and do our best to be ready.”

Doncic had 19 points in the first half but only had five points the rest of the way, including 2-11 from the field, but according to Carlisle, Doncic, who had seven rebounds and five assists in the second half, was able to impact the game in other ways. 

“The thing, when Luka [Doncic] goes through periods where he’s not scoring, he finds other ways to impact the game,” Carlisle said. “He was rebounding really well during that stretch. He moved it to some guys for some really good shots. And he kept playing the game — that’s what you’ve got to do.”

Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 17 points against the Nets, did an excellent job against Kevin Durant and Dallas held him to 1-10 shooting from the field with four points in the second half. Durant finished the game 7/21 from the field with 20 points. 

After the game, Finney-Smith discussed his defense against Durant.

“Man, he’s just one of those guys you try to make him uncomfortable because he can shoot anytime he wants (because) he’s so tall,” Finney-Smith said. “Sometimes you feel like you’re there. You feel like he just plays like he’s in front of a cone. He’s doing the cone drill, but you got to try to make it tough for him, and we did a good job tonight.”

Dallas has won eight of their last 10 games, and Finney-Smith believes that Dallas can beat anybody if they play as they did against Brooklyn on Thursday night. 

“Sometimes when we play teams not as good as Brooklyn, we don’t come out with that fight,” he said. “If we come out how we did tonight, we can beat anybody.”

Dallas, who again was without Kristaps Porzingis(right knee), seem to be putting it together at the right time, but they must not play down to the opposition, and that would be put to the test when they battle the Cavs(21-45) at home in the second half of a back-to-back on Friday night. 

Mavs’ Finney-Smith: ‘We can compete with anybody; we have the talent’

For the first two quarters, the Dallas Mavericks(30-26) did not bring the energy necessary to defeat the Sacramento Kings(23-34) on Sunday night. Dallas allowed the Kings to score 45 points in the second quarter, and they could not recover as Sacramento would go on to defeat the Mavericks 121-107 at American Airlines Center.  

“Really just a poor performance from the beginning,” Mavericks head Rick Carlisle said after the game. “They really came out with force, had us on our heels. We got down big early [and] fought back. It was two at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a killer, 45-30.

Sacramento led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, but then the Mavericks finally woke up. Dallas went on a 15-2 run to cut the lead to eight and would trail 87-77 entering the fourth quarter.

“The third quarter, we had a group in there with really just hard, unselfish play that went on a strong run — I think it was 15-2 — and got us within eight,” Carlisle said. “We had some chances to get it under six a couple of times, I think and were unable to do it. A lot of what we’ve been talking about is that it’s a 48-minute game, and we’ve got to start stronger. “

Luka Doncic, who had 22 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, had a little duel with the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox, who scored 12 of his 30 points in the final quarter. However, for Doncic and the Mavs, it was too little, too late.

“We didn’t come out playing hard,” Doncic said. “That is what has happened the last couple of games now. I have to be way better. We have to play harder. I have to play harder. It starts with me, so I have to play way better.”

According to Carlisle, the Mavericks, who have lost two straight and four of their five games, have to figure out ways to get back on track.

“There’s been some soul searching over the last five games,” he said. “We’ve talked about some things. We haven’t had much practice time. We’ll be able to have a practice on Tuesday. Of course, there’s concern. I think this game brings the issues into a sharper focus. We’ve got to get ourselves back on track just from a process standpoint. Forget about wins and losses; we’ve got to win games. That’s our job is to win games.”

Despite their struggles, Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 22 points on Sunday night, thinks the team has everything it needs to compete with anyone in the league. They just have to give more effort.

“We just have to go out there and play hard,” he said. “We can compete with anybody; we have the talent; it is just the energy.”

Dallas is in a bit of a rut right now, and the last two games, the defense, the energy, and the effort have not been there for this team. That has to improve if they want to get back on track. 

Notes:

Kristaps Porzingis struggled with his shot on Sunday night. He was 3-14 from the field and finished with nine points. Porzingis did have a game-high 11 rebounds.

Jalen Brunson came off the bench for 20 points on 8-10 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Kings’ Terence Davis came off the bench for 23 points (9-12 FG, 5-5 3FG) to go with three rebounds and three assists. His 23 points were his second-most this season.

Dallas has lost four straight games at American Airlines Center, and continue their five-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

Photo: @Mavs/Twitter

Mavs’ Carlisle: When his(Randle) shot-making is like it was tonight, it’s just very, very difficult’

Before Friday’s showdown between the Knicks and Mavericks, Rick Carlisle had this to say about Dallas native and Knicks All-Star Julius Randle.

“Randle’s an All-Star,” Carlisle said. “He loves coming back home and playing here.” 

Boy, was Carlisle right about Randle on Friday night.

Randle had a season-high-tying 44 points (16-29 FG, 6-11 3FG), added 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Knicks(30-27) defeated the Mavericks(30-25) 117-109 at American Airlines Center.

The Knicks have won five straight, which is their longest winning streak in seven seasons.

Randle became the first Knick with 40-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists in a game since Bernard King in 1985.

“I always love playing at home in front of my friends, in front of my family,” Randle said after the game. “I never take those moments for granted.”

R.J. Barrett chipped in with 24 points for New York. Former Knick Kristaps Porzingis had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas and Luka Doncic had 22 points to go with eight rebounds and a career-high-tying 19 assists, but this night was about Randle.

“He(Randle) got going early tonight,” Carlis said after the game. “I think he may have hit one shot early, and then we were able to keep him at bay… When his shot-making is like it was tonight, it’s just very, very difficult.”

Dorian Finney-Smith, who spent time defending Randle and finished with 13 points, added: “Obviously, he has stepped his game up. He has been working, and you are seeing it. He is like a totally different player out there. Right before halftime, he hit me with a tough step-back 3. That is not a shot that he was shooting a couple of years ago, but he has all that.”

In their last meeting at Madison Square Garden back in March, where Dallas won 99-86. The Mavericks held the Knicks to 36% from the field, including 31% from downtown, and held Randle to 14 points(5-20 from the field). However, on Friday night, the Knicks shot 51% from the field, including 50% from three-point range.

“We needed to do more to make it harder on their whole team,’ Carlisle said. “They shot over 51%, and they shot 50% from three. We just didn’t take much of anything away.”

Dallas did not defend well enough to win on Friday night, and much credit goes to the play of Randle and the Knicks, but if the Mavericks want to move up in the standings and be the team that they want to be, they have to take advantage of home(13-13).

Dallas continues their five-game homestand on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings.

Mavs’ Doncic: ‘We’re just trying here to get to the sixth spot(playoffs)’

The Dallas Mavericks get back at it on Wednesday night when they travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies. Dallas has taken four of the last five meetings between the two teams, including the first meeting in February at the American Airlines Center.

Dallas is coming off two straight losses at home, including losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 113-95 on Monday night. Dallas, who was without Kristaps Porzingis(rest), had no answers for Joel Embiid, who scored 36 points in 26 minutes.

Porzingis is expected to play on Wednesday night. 

The seventh-seeded Mavericks are 1.5 games ahead of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies and 1.5 games behind the sixth-seeded Blazers. Teams 7-10 will be involved in the Play-in Tournament.

Mavericks star Luka Doncic is not a fan of the Play-in Tournament and hopes to avoid it.

“I mean, obviously, (we’re trying) to get the sixth seed,” he said on Monday night. “I don’t understand the idea of playoff play-in (tournament), in playing two games to get in the playoffs, then maybe lose two in a row, and you’re out of the playoffs. I don’t see the point of that. We’re just trying here to get to the sixth spot, and I think that’s our goal right now. Maybe even more than sixth spot.”

Dorian Finney-Smith thinks it’s essential to get back on track against Memphis.

“We’ve got to) go back to the drawing board and figure out what we’ve got to do,” he said. “It’s a long season; we’ve got to try to get this game in Memphis.”

Regarding the Play-in Tournament, it makes something that is meaningless, meaningful. Basically, not many care what happens at the bottom of the playoff standings. With the Play-in Tournament, people care a little more, so it should stay. 

After this game against Memphis, Dallas has five straight at home. However, they have been better on the road(16-12) than at home(13-12), but having five consecutive games in your building is an opportunity for Dallas to move up in the Western Conference’s standings. We’ll see if they take advantage of it!

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.