Porzingis enjoyed his time with Doncic; Dinwiddie feels vindicated

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.

Watch below as Dinwiddie talks loss to Wizards:

Mavs’ Nico Harrison: ‘I don’t think we’re scared of anybody’

The Dallas Mavericks acquired guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Dāvis Bertāns from the Washington Wizards in exchange for forward/center Kristaps Porzingis and a protected 2022 second-round pick before Thursday’s trade deadline.

The 26-year-old Porzingis, who was acquired by the Mavs in 2019 from the Knicks, had a hard time staying on the court in Dallas.

Since joining the Mavs, Porzingis played in 134 out of a possible 209 regular-season games, and he’s missed 21 of a possible 55 games this season. Porzingis has missed the last five games due to a bone bruise in his knee.

When he was on the court, he played well as he averaged 20.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks during his time with Dallas.

“He(Porzingis) went through a lot with the injuries,” said Luka Doncic, who had a career-high 51 points Thursday night in the win over the Clippers. “I think this year he was way better. NBA is a business; I wish him all the best in the future.”

After Dallas’ win over the Clippers, Mavs GM Nico Harrison explained why the team traded Porzingis.

“I think it wasn’t just about [Kristaps Porzingis],” he said. “It was about really giving ourselves the flexibility that we need to be the team that we want to be. I think that’s really the bottom line. We were able to give ourselves more flexibility and then add more depth.”

According to Harrison, injuries were not a concern when it came to Porzingis:

“I think it was less about his availability and really more about ‘how do we make the team better.'” Harrison said. “Listen, I think if you look at [Kristaps Porzingis’ injuries], they were knick-knack injuries. If it was the playoffs, he could have played. They were stuff that, during the season, you might sit out, but in the playoffs, he would have played. I don’t think they were a concern.”

In the end, Harrison believes Dallas(33-23), who are 17-5 in their last 22 games, can compete with anybody.

“I think we’re good enough to compete,” he said. “I don’t think we’re scared of anybody. I think we’re good enough to compete. It remains to be seen. I also think we also have room for improvement, but I do like the team.”

Porzingis, who signed a five-year, $158 million deal with the Mavs in 2019. has three years and $101 million left on his contract, but he can opt out after the 2023 season.

The 28-year-old Dinwiddie, who signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Wizards after a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn this summer, has struggled at times this season. In 44 games, he’s averaging 12.6 points, a career-high 4.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Dallas does not know what will happen with Jalen Brunson, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so Dinwiddie does give them another guard just in case Brunson decides to go elsewhere.

Regarding Bertans, he has one of the worst contracts in basketball as he has three years and $49 million left on his deal. In 34 games, the 29-year-old is averaging 5.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes. Bertans can shoot, and with Doncic, it’s good to have shooting. 

Dallas tried to form a dynamic duo with Doncic and Porzingis. Unfortunately, one was a lot more available than the other. Now, Porzingis has an opportunity to change the narrative about his career, and the Wizards can try to c0nvince Bradley Beal to stay around in Washington.

 

 

Carlisle on Mavs: ‘That’s a team that’s got a real chance, not only to come out of the West, but they’re a good contender’

Former Mavs and current Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle returned to Dallas Saturday night as Indiana battled the Mavs at American Airlines Center.

Carlisle spent 13 seasons as head coach of the Mavericks, including leading the team to its first and only NBA title in 2011.

It was an emotional night for Carlisle, who got a little choked up after the team paid tribute to him pregame.

After the Mavs(29-21) defeated the Pacers(18-33) 132-105, Carlisle discussed the tribute.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Carlisle said. “The only other time I’ve felt that kind of emotional moment was when we raised the banner for the first game of the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12. It was the same kind of feeling, but I was not expecting anything like that. It was a wonderful gesture and much appreciated.

Carlisle explained why things got emotional for him.

“It’s really the combination of over a decade of amazing experiences,” he said. “Some of them were very tough and challenging, other ones very exuberant – periods where it was difficult for extended periods of time during the rebuild and so on. It’s hard to reconcile the whole thing in one moment like that, but it was very nice. I did not anticipate anything quite like that.”

At this point, the Mavericks have won 13 of their last 16 games. Dallas has not trailed in five of their previous eight games, marking the first time since March 2008 that the franchise has had such a stretch. 

According to Carlisle, Dallas has the talent to make it to the NBA Finals. 

“That’s a team that’s got a real chance, not only to come out of the West, but they’re a good contender,” Carlisle said. “They are very, very good, and we obviously didn’t have our best game.”

One thing that could prevent the Mavs from making a deep playoff run is the health of Kristaps Porzingis, who left the game in the first half with right knee soreness. 

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Porzingis will not travel to Orlando Sunday in the second half of a back-to-back against the Magic. Hopefully, it’s an injury that won’t linger for Porzingis, who has missed 19 games this season due to injuries and COVID.

Dallas is playing very good basketball right now, but a deep playoff could depend on the teams they play in the playoffs. However, give this team credit for turning things around after a slow start.

Notes: 

-Luka Doncic had 30 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists in the win over Indiana. Since returning from the health and safety protocols on 1/2/22, Doncic is averaging 25.0 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 9.4 assists per game.

-Reggie Bullock came off the bench for a season-high 23 points on 8-11 shooting, including 6-8 from deep. The Mavericks are 10-1 when Bullock scores 10+ points and a perfect 7-0 when he scores 15+ points. Bullock scored 14 points in the second quarter.

-Maxi Kleber finished with 15 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds on his 30th birthday. Tonight’s performance was his 2nd double-double of the season and the eighth of his career.

Jalen Brunson (13 points, eight assists), Josh Green (12 points), and Dwight Powell (10 points) each finished in double figures for the Mavericks.

Watch below as Doncic talks win over Pacers:

Mavs’ Porzingis on big game against Blazers: ‘I just had that feeling that I was going to make some shots’

It’s next man up around the NBA, including the Dallas Mavericks. Due to health and safety protocols, Dallas was without Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Trey Burke, and Reggie Bullock.

The man that led the way for the Mavericks Monday night against the Portland Trailblazers(13-20) was Kristaps Porzingis. He scored 24 of his season-high 34 points in the first half to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks as the Mavericks(16-17) defeated the Blazers 132-117 at Moda Center.

Porzingis’ 34 points was the highest-scoring game by a Maverick this season, and Dallas improved to 3-0 this season when he scores 30-plus points.

“After I missed the first three, I don’t know why, but I was like, ‘I know I’m going to make shots,'” Porzingis said. “It was straight on, a little bit short. The third one, I was already like, okay, ‘This is going in,’ and it was like in and out. End of the quarter, I was like, ‘I have to keep shooting. I know it’s going in…

“I just had that feeling that I’m going to make some shots, and now consistency is what I’m looking for.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd added on Porzingis: ‘”I thought (Porzingis) let the ball come to him tonight, he didn’t force anything. If they didn’t double, he went to score, and if they did, he found the open guy. I thought his rhythm was great from start to finish.”

Next man up was not just Porzingis. Brandon Knight, who appeared in his third game with the Mavericks, had 18 points (6-12 FG), five assists, three rebounds, and one steal; Josh Green had nine points to go along with a career-high 10 assists and a season-high-tying two steals, and Dwight Powell recorded a season-best 22 points.

Dallas continues their five-game road trip with a two-game set in Sacramento against the Kings starting Wednesday. 

Watch below as Porzingis reacts to Dallas’ win over Blazers:

Porzingis on win over Hornets: ‘It’s weird, but I almost feel better on the second game of a back-to-back’

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:

Mavs’ Doncic on loss to Pelicans: ‘I think that game was on me’

What a difference a few days make. On Wednesday night, Dallas shot a team-record 68% from the floor and defeated the Pelicans on the road 139-107. Well, Friday’s game was a much different story.

Dallas(11-10) held the Pelicans(7-18) to only 14 points in the first quarter, but they only had 19 points themselves. The Mavs led by five after one and took a 48-44 lead at the break. However, things fell apart for the Mavericks in the third. New Orleans outscored them 35-20 in the quarter and took a 13-point lead into the fourth. The Pelicans had their largest lead of 18 points in the final period, and they would defeat Dallas 107-91 at American Airlines Center.

The Mavericks have now lost three out of four.

New Orleans was led by Brandon Ingram’s 24 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds; Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Dallas was without Kristaps Porzingis(knee) and was led by Luka Doncic’s 21 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists, which were all team-highs, but, according to Doncic, this loss was on him.

“I think that game was on me,” Doncic said. “My energy was down, I played very bad, and I just have to be better.”

Dallas went from shooting 68% from the floor to 41% shooting Friday, and Doncic felt the energy was different for the Mavericks.

“Obviously, we had a big percentage last game, but our energy was way different,” he said. “Everything was better. We moved the ball, we ran. Everything was better; that’s why we got all the open shots, points in the paint, all that. And that’s the way we’ve got to play.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd added: “I think we can’t take anybody lightly; anybody can be beaten. They went into Utah, beat Utah. They went into L.A. and beat the Clippers. To understand that what happened the game before is over, there’s nothing you can do to change it. This is a different game. We have to understand that, and we have to be grownups about that. We just didn’t do that tonight.”

Dallas is not good enough to take any team lightly, especially without Porzingis. This was a bad loss for sure, but fortunately for the Mavericks, they play again on Saturday as they host the Memphis Grizzlies. However, they will be without Doncic(left ankle soreness),  Porzingis (left knee contusion), and Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons), so getting a win might be difficult.

J. Kidd on Porzingis: ‘He’s playing at a very high level’

The Dallas Mavericks got their star back in Luka Doncic against the Clippers after he missed the past three games due to ankle and knee sprains, and unlike the first three games of this road trip, they were able to close out the Clippers(10-8) in OT 112-104 on Tuesday night.

The Mavericks(10-7) snap their three-game losing streak, and the Dallas finished their road trip 1-3.

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

The Great for the Mavericks:

Kristaps Porzingis has found his groove. The 7-footer had his seventh straight game of 20 points or more as he had a team-high 30 points to go along with seven rebounds. During this seven-game stretch, Porzingis is averaging 26.0 points (.528 FG), 9.3 rebounds,  2.3 assists, and 1.4 blocks a contest.

“He’s playing at a very high level. He didn’t force anything,” Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said about Porzingis. “Sometimes, when a star player comes back, others might change their game, but he didn’t.”

-Doncic almost messed around and had a triple-double. He had 26 points, nine assists, nine rebounds, and two blocks. The Mavericks were happy to have their closer back. Also, according to Mavs PR, Doncic extended his 20-5-5 streak to a 2021-22 NBA-best seven consecutive games.

-Dorian Finney-Smith had 10 of his season-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. Finney-Smith also added three rebounds and three assists.

Third Quarter:  The Clippers led by as much as 11 points in this one and by as many as eight points in the third, but Dallas went on a 13-4 run, and during that run, Doncic scored 11 of the 13 points to give the Mavs a one-point lead. Dallas outscored the Clippers 38-28 in the third and took an 80-76 lead into the fourth. Doncic finished the quarter with 15 points

Overtime: Dallas outscored the Clippers 9-1 in the extra session after blowing a 10-point lead late in the game. Porzingis had six points in overtime.

Turnovers: The Mavericks turned 19 Clipper turnovers into 22 points. 

The Not so Great for the Mavericks:

The final 3:29 in regulation: Dallas led 102-92 with 3:29 left. Los Angeles went on an 11-1 run to end the game, including Paul George’s corner three at the buzzer to tie things up at 103 and send things into OT. Fortunately, Dallas was able to complete things in OT.

Bottom Line:

Great win for the Mavericks, but they almost blew it. However, a win is a win, especially on the road. Dallas might have had a better road trip if they had Doncic for the first three games. The Mavericks were in all three games against the Suns and Clippers, but they needed that extra push.

What’s Next:

Dallas returns home on Saturday night to face the Wizards.

Best of the Rest:

-Reggie Jackson had game-highs in points(31) and rebounds(10) on Tuesday night; George scored 26 points and dished out six assists.

-Maxi Kleber had a tremendous all-around game with eight points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a block off the Mavs’ bench.

-Jalen Brunson left the game in first half with a foot injury and did not return. Dallas was also without the services of Frank Ntilikina (Injury/Illness – Right Calf; Strain) and Reggie Bullock(illness).

Listen below as Doncic talks his return from injury:

The Great, Not so Great, & Bottom Line of Mavs’ loss to Clippers

Without Luka Doncic, it has been a struggle for the Dallas Mavericks(9-7), and the struggles continued on Sunday as Dallas fell to the Clippers(10-7) 97-91 at Staples Center. 

Dallas took a 47-46 lead into halftime, but they were outscored by 10 in the third. The Mavs made it close in the end, but it wasn’t enough as Dallas has now lost three straight.

Here’s the Great, the Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Mavs’ loss to the Clippers.

The Great for the Mavericks:

-Kristaps Porzingis again scored over 20 points for a career-high-tying sixth consecutive game. Porzingis had 15 of his 25 points in the first half, eight rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. In the last six games, he’s averaging 25.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.

-Jalen Brunson has played well for the injured Doncic(ankle). He shot 7/13 from the floor and scored 20 points to go along with eight assists. In the last three games, Brunson is averaging 18.6 points, 9.0 assists, and 7.3 rebounds. Brunson has shown that he’s a starting point guard in the NBA.

Not so Great for the Mavericks:

-Tim Hardaway Jr. had an off shooting night on Sunday. He was 2/12 from the field and scored only eight points. 

-Dallas was not making shots against the Clippers. The Mavericks shot 41% from the field, including 6/30 from downtown.

Third Quarter: The Mavericks went completely cold in the third. They shot 30% from the floor, including 0/6 from three-point range. Conversely, Los Angeles shot 56% from the field, including 56% from three(5/9) in the quarter.

Bottom Line:

This is a murderous road trip for Dallas, especially without Doncic. Both the Suns and Clippers are outstanding teams, so these are challenging games to win, but as Jason Kidd had said recently, Dallas has to learn to win without Luka. Doncic was a game-time decision on Sunday, so he’s close and may return on Tuesday night. They did get Maxi Kleber back on Sunday, which is huge.

What’s Next:

Dallas, who is 0-3 on this road trip, finishes its four-game trip and two-game set against the Clippers on Tuesday night.

Best of the Rest:

Paul George led the Clippers with a game-high 29 points; Reggie Jackson added 23 points, and Ivica Zubac chipped in with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

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: