Mavs’ Porzingis believes two games against Phoenix may have been different with Doncic

The Dallas Mavericks finished off their two-game set in Phoenix against the Suns(12-3) on Friday night. The Mavericks, who were again without Luka Doncic(ankle/knee sprains), took an 84-79 lead into the fourth but would be outscored 33-20 in the final quarter and fall to Phoenix 112-104.

Dallas(9-6) fell to the Suns 105-98 on Wednesday night.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Phoenix’s loss to Dallas.

The Great for the Mavericks:

-Kristaps Porzingis continues to play well for Dallas. He led the way with a game-high 23 points, and he grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. Porzingis shot the ball well as he was 8/13 from the field, including 3/6 from downtown. This was Porzingis’ fifth consecutive game of 20 points or more.

Jalen Brunson in the first three quarters: In his second consecutive start for Dallas, Brunson had a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists. For the first three quarters, Brunson was 6/13 from the floor with 15 points and eight assists, and Dallas took an 84-79 lead into the fourth.

Not so Great for the Mavericks:

Fourth Quarter:  Dallas went cold in the fourth. They shot 6/21 from the field and had five of their 10 turnovers in the quarter. Phoenix went on a 17-3 run to start to the fourth, and the Suns shot 65% from the floor, including 5/7 from three-point range. Ultimately, the Mavericks were outscored 33-20.

Fourth Quarter Jalen Brunson: The fourth-year guard struggled in the fourth. He was 1/6 from the floor and scored only two points, but it was not just on him; the team struggled in the final period. Brunson finished the game shooting 7/19.

Defense: Dallas allowed the Suns to shoot 52% from the floor, including 48% from downtown on Friday night. In addition, they allowed Phoenix to score 112 points. 

Bottom Line:

The Phoenix Suns are red-hot as they have won 11 straight; they are probably playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. In both games against the Suns, the Mavericks took leads into the fourth, and both times, the Suns outlasted them. Maybe if Doncic was healthy, Dallas could have split the two-game set in Phoenix. Hopefully, they can get Doncic back against the Clippers.

“They’re a good team,” Porzingis said postgame about the Suns. They were in the Finals last year. That says a lot. I feel like we’re not too far off. If we had Luka(Doncic), it would also probably be a different look.”

What’s Next:

Dallas continues their four-game road trip on Sunday in Los Angeles as they begin a two-game set against the Clippers.

Best of the Rest:

-The Suns had six players in double figures. Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges(7/7 FG) had 19 points apiece. Chris Paul added 18 points, 14 assists, and five rebounds; Deandre Ayton had 8 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, and JaVale McGee had 14 points and six rebounds off the bench.

-For the Mavs, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 12.

On Friday, Dallas announced that Dirk Nowitzki’s number 41 would be retired on January 5th against the Warriors.

Watch below as Brunson reacts to loss to Suns:

Hardaway Jr. on Porzingis: ‘When he is engaged like that, we can be a dangerous team’

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.

Bottom Line:

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.

What’s Next:

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:

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’ Kidd: ‘I really believe our bench is a big part of our success’

After a slow start against the New Orleans Pelicans(1-10), the Dallas Mavericks picked it up in the second and third quarters, ultimately leading by as many as 22 points in the fourth and defeating the Pelicans 108-92 at American Airlines Center.

Dallas(7-3) has now won four out of their last five, marking the first time they have reached the 7-3 mark through 10 games since the 2013-14 season.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom Line of Dallas’ win over New Orleans.

The Great for the Mavericks:

-The Mavericks had five players in double figures, and Luka Doncic was the catalyst again for Dallas. Doncic had a team-high 25 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists on Monday night. Over his last five games(four wins), Doncic is averaging 27.4 points per game.

-Super-sub Jalen Brunson had 17 points off the bench for Dallas. Brunson also added six assists and four rebounds. This is Brunson’s fourth consecutive game scoring in double figures, and he is averaging 21.5 points per game on 59.3% shooting from the field in that stretch.

-Tim Hardaway Jr. had scored 17 points, including a game-high four threes, to go along with six rebounds and four assists.

-Kristaps Porzingis had 12 points and 8 rebounds. It’s good to have Porzingis around as the Mavericks are 4-1 with Porzingis in the lineup this season.

-The Mavericks bench outscored the Pelicans bench by a season-high 32 tonight, 42-10. Of course, we know about Brunson’s 17 points off the bench, but Reggie Bullock added 12 points(2/3 3PT), and Frank Ntilikina had nine points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

“I think it’s one of our strengths,” Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said about the bench. “As you have seen, we can start a guy that comes off the bench and he can help us win. When you look at Frank [Ntilikina] and looking at [Jalen] Brunson and Sterling [Brown] and those guys that are coming off the bench, they all can provide something different, starting on the defensive end. I really believe our bench is a big part of our success.”

Second-Fourth Quarters: After trailing by five after one quarter, Dallas outscored the Pelicans by 21 points the rest of the way.

Not so Great for the Mavericks:

-First Quarter: Dallas trailed again after the first quarter. The Mavericks have trailed or been tied(once) in six of their ten games after the first quarter this season. 

The Bottom Line:

The Pelicans are one of the worst teams in basketball right now, especially without Brandon Ingram(hip) and Zion Williamson(foot), who did not play on Monday, so these are the games the Mavericks should win.

Dallas is getting it done at home, and they are 5-1 at American Airlines Center.

What’s Next:

Dallas goes on the road to face the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

Best of the Rest:

Jonas Valanciunas scored 22 points and contributed a game-high 11 rebounds for New Orleans, and Josh Hart had 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists tonight. 

 

 

 

Mavs’ Kidd: ‘(Jalen)Brunson was great from start to finish’

The undermanned Mavericks(5-3) came into San Antonio on the second half of a back-to-back to face the Spurs(2-6) after falling to the Heat on Tuesday night.

Dallas was again without Kristaps Porzingis(back) and Maxi Kleber(oblique).

But the Mavericks’ backcourt came up big in the fourth quarter. Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson got it done for Dallas down the stretch, and the Mavericks defeated San Antonio 109-108.

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

The Great for the Mavericks:

-Doncic and Brunson: The Mavs starting backcourt combined for 54, 22 rebounds, and 10 assists. Brunson had season-highs in points(31) and rebounds(10); he also added three assists and two steals. Doncic, who had led Dallas in points in the last seven games, scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Brunson(13) and Doncic(4) had 17 of the team’s 28 points against San Antonio in the fourth.

At one point, Brunson scored 13 straight points for Dallas in the fourth.

-Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. 

BOBI: Boban Marjanovic scored 17 points on 8/10 shooting and grabbed five rebounds off the Mavs’ bench. Marjanovic made one of the biggest defensive plays of the game when he guarded the in-bound pass that ended with Keldon Johnson throwing the ball away to end the contest.

Not So Great for the Mavericks:

-Dallas allowed the Spurs to score 60 points in the paint.

-The Mavericks were a little sloppy with the ball on Wednesday and had 19 turnovers.

-Injuries: Not only were the Mavs without Porzingis and Kleber, but they lost reserve forward Reggie Bullock, who did not play in the final three quarters after suffering a facial injury. 

Bottom Line:

Dallas may have found something with the Doncic and Brunson backcourt. Brunson takes the pressure off Doncic. He can bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense. In addition, Brunson gives Dallas another shot creator on the floor. It should be interesting to see when everybody returns if Kidd decides to go with Brunson in the starting lineup.

Here is Brunson’s stat line in the last two games as a starter:

25 PTS, 7 REB, 10-13 FG(Heat)

31 PTS, 10 REB, 9-17 FG(Spurs)

“Brunson was great from start to finish,” Kidd said postgame. “He was great (Tuesday) night. Great carryover. He gives us a second ballhandler. Also, he’s a guy who can put the ball in the basket and is comfortable playing alongside Luka.”

What’s Next:

Dallas returns home on Saturday night against the Celtics.

Best of the Rest:

Dejounte Murray led the Spurs with 23 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists; Devin Vassell had 21 points, and Derrick White added 19 points.

Mavs’ Doncic on slow start against Spurs: ‘We shouldn’t let this happen again’

The Dallas Mavericks started very slow on Thursday night. They were down 23-3 in the first quarter. Then, the Mavs’ bench came in and changed things around. 

Ultimately, the Mavericks would take their first lead in the second quarter and hold on to defeat the Spurs 104-99.

Here’s the Great for the Mavericks:

-Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 25 points on 11-19 shooting. Doncic scored 18 of his 25 in the second half, including eight straight points down the stretch in the fourth quarter to give the Mavs a 10-point lead.

-Jalen Brunson came off the bench for 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and a +21 rating in the win. Brunson was the spark for Dallas and a big reason why they were able to get back into the game.

-Maxi Kleber recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high-tying six blocks (12/26/18 vs. NOP) off the bench in the win. 

Dorian Finney-Smith finished with 14 points to go with eight rebounds and two steals. Finney-Smith now has eight rebounds in three of the four games this season.

Dwight Powell added 11 points for the Mavericks, while Reggie Bullock made his first start in a Dallas uniform and recorded seven points.

-The Mavericks overcame a 20-point deficit, marking the first time they had done so since 8/10/20 when they were down by 22 and came back to defeat the Jazz.

-The entire bench unit finished with a double-digit positive net rating against San Antonio, led by Frank Ntilikina at +24.

Here’s the Not so Great for the Mavericks:

-While Dallas was able to win this game after being down 23-3, they do realize this is a recipe for disaster. In fact, Dallas has trailed after the first quarter in all four of their games this season, which is an issue.

“We got off to a slow start,” Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said postgame. “I didn’t think we would get off to that slow of a start, but it happens in this league. The character of that bench, the team, playing… they just came in and gave us an energy that was much needed. From that point on, we started to get into the game. San Antonio, again, well-coached, we knew that they were going to put pressure on us. We were just a little slow to start the game, and it’s been like that since the season started. So, we just have to talk about it and address it.”

Doncic added on slow start: “Just a bad start. A really bad one. There was no energy. Everyone was sloppy, starting with me. We shouldn’t let this happen again. It was a terrible sight.”

Bottom Line:

Dallas got an excellent performance from the bench, which saved the day for this team on Thursday night. In addition, they got it done without Kristaps Porzingis(back), who will miss Friday’s game against the Nuggets.

What’s Next:

Mavericks have their first back-to-back of the season when they travel to Denver to battle the Nuggets on Friday night.

Best of the Rest:

Dejounte Murray led the Spurs with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists tonight, finishing two assists shy of his second triple-double in as many games; Jakob Poeltl had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Poeltl, and Bryn Forbes react to loss to Dallas:

 

 

Mavs’ Carlisle on avoiding Play-In Tournament: ‘I’m happy for our guys — they worked hard for this’

The Dallas Mavericks(42-29) have officially avoided the Play-In Tournament after defeating the Toronto Raptors 114-110 at American Airlines Center on Friday night. 

The Mavericks have clinched their 23rd playoff appearance in the franchise’s 41-year history with Friday’s win. Dallas has now reached the playoffs 17 times in the last 21 seasons. 

Luka Doncic finished the game with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists tonight for his 11th triple-double of the season, and Kristaps Porzingis had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Toronto(27-44) fought the Mavericks hard as Dallas native Jalen Harris scored a career-high 31 points (12-21 FG) to go with four assists tonight, and Malachi Flynn added 26.

After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle talked about avoiding the Play-In Tournament.

“Getting the win is important,” Carlisle said. “It solidifies either a six or a five-spot [for playoffs], depending on what happens on Sunday. Avoiding the play-in is significant. It’s important. There’s just too many advantages to not being in the play-in situation. I’m happy for our guys — they worked hard for this.”

The Mavericks were 9-14 after 23 games but have turned it around. Dallas went 33-15 over the next 48 games. Jalen Brunson, who had 19 points to go with five rebounds and four assists off the bench, talked about the turnaround on Friday night.

“It’s awesome being able to clinch that, especially the way we started out. It was rocky,” Brunson said. “But we have guys who knew what this team was capable of, and we stuck together. We were able to keep fighting through. Just kept pushing. Kept trying to get better. Kept sticking together through the tough times.”

Doncic added: “Obviously, I remember earlier when we were in the 12th or 13th spot, and everybody had us out of the playoffs,” he said. “But now we have made the playoffs, and it is good. We are going to have a couple of days off, and that is what we needed.”

At this point, the Mavericks are the fifth-seed in the West, and if they beat Minnesota or Portland loses on Sunday night, Dallas stays at five. If they lose, and Portland(41-30) wins, Dallas drops to six. If the Lakers(40-30) win out, and Portland and Dallas lose on Sunday night, it would be a three-way tie, and with that scenario, Dallas would stay at five, Portland would be six, and Los Angeles would be seven.

Currently, the Clippers and Nuggets are tied for the third spot, so who the Mavs will play won’t be known until Sunday night, but for now, here is one thing that we do know, Dallas won’t be in the Play-In Tournament. 

Notes:

The Mavericks improved to a perfect 27-0 when leading after the first quarter and improved to 39-2 when they build a double-digit lead at any point in the game. The Mavs went 17-42 from deep tonight and improved to 13-3 when they make 17-plus threes in a game.

Mavs’ Doncic after loss to Kings: ‘We got bigger things ahead of us’

Fortunately for the Dallas Mavericks(36-28), they do not have to play the Sacramento Kings(27-37) again in the regular season or the playoffs as Dallas fell again to the Kings at home 111-99 on Sunday night.

This season, Dallas has lost three times to the Kings in less than a month, including two times in Dallas.

After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, who was ejected late in the fourth quarter after receiving his second technical foul, made no excuses for the loss.

“There’s no excuses,” he said. “On paper, forget Sacramento’s record. They’ve got some very talented guys down there. They’ve been a tough matchup for us, and we didn’t play well enough.”

Luka Doncic, who, like Carlisle, was ejected late in the fourth after he picked up two technicals on Sunday night, had 30 points, six rebounds and six assists against Sacramento, is not sure why the Mavericks can’t beat the Kings.

“I don’t really know,” Doncic said. “I guess it’s not a good matchup, but we just got to move to the next one. We got bigger things ahead of us.”

According to Jalen Brunson, who came off the bench and scored 17 points, Sacramento is a talented team.

“Unique team, a lot of talented guys,” Brunson said. “It’s really hard to pinpoint what exactly it is, but one thing I know for sure is we matched their energy a little too late. We had spurts where we matched their energy, but they had a lot of energy tonight. Part of that is one me coming off the bench being able to be a spark. I need to be able to match their energy. I messed up on the court. They are a unique team.”

Going forward, Dallas has to worry about Doncic. The two-time All-Star has 15 technicals this season, and one more technical means he will be suspended for one game. However, Doncic says that won’t happen.

“I won’t get another one,” Doncic said. “Don’t worry.”

With the loss, Dallas is now tied with the Lakers and Blazers for the fifth seed in the Western Conference. However, because Dallas holds the tiebreaker, they are still the fifth seed.

This was a bad loss for Dallas, but as Doncic said, they have to move forward, which starts on Tuesday night when they travel to Miami to battle the Heat.

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.

Popovich on Luka: ‘His skills are top-notch’

The Dallas Mavericks got out early against the Spurs on Friday night in San Antonio, and because of the greatness of Luka Doncic, they were able to hold the lead and defeat the Spurs 122-117.

Doncic finished the game with a near triple-double and had 36 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. Dallas led the Spurs by as many as 18 points in this contest, and led by ten going into the fourth quarter.

However, the Spurs, who lost starting PG Dejounte Murray to a sprained ankle in the first quarter, were able to cut the lead to one late in the fourth, but Doncic hit a beautiful short bank shot to put Dallas up three, and on the next possession, Doncic drove to the lane and passed it out to Jalen Brunson who hit a dagger three to cement the game. 

After the win, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle talked about Doncic’s playmaking down the stretch of games. 

“It’s clear that Luka has great trust in his teammates,” Carlisle said. “The Denver game was another very close game. Milwaukee game was very close. In those situations, he made the right basketball play, got the ball to his teammates, and his teammates stepping into shots with force and confidence.”

Brunson, who had 16 points against San Antonio, added this about Doncic: “He does a lot for our team, makes a lot of plays for himself and for everybody else. I was ready just in case he wanted to dish it out to me, and I was ready to knock it down.”

Dallas was in the bottom half of the league in terms of winning close games last season. In this game, things got tough down the stretch against San Antonio, and Doncic and the Mavs executed.

“I think the biggest thing is making better decisions,” Doncic said about late game situations. “I think, give up a good shot for a better shot. I think that’s the key.”

Doncic is a stud, and it is a joy to watch when he is at his best. Before the game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talked about what makes Doncic so good.

“He is a quintessential basketball player,” Popovich said. “He has an intrinsic feel for the game. He was built for this game… At that size to have that passing ability, that vision of the court. The confidence he plays with. He shoots the ball well. He competes; he’s just in love with the game of basketball, and his skills are top-notch, so he’s just a joy to watch.”

After losing three straight, Dallas has now won two in a row and will go for three consecutive wins at home against the Rockets on Saturday night.

Watch as Pop talks Luka Doncic: