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.

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. 

Redick on Doncic, Porzingis: ‘They’re both the proverbial unicorn’

The Dallas Mavericks(25-21) continue their five-game road trip on Friday night when they travel to New York to face the Knicks(24-24). Dallas is currently 2-1 on this trip, including a 113-108 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday night. 

In that game, Luka Doncic was red-hot. The two-time All-Star led the Mavericks with 36 points (11-15 FG, 7-11 3FG), eight rebounds, and five assists in 35 minutes for his 15th 30-5-5 game of the season.

Currently, the Mavericks are 25-21 and are the seventh-seed in the Western Conference. Seeds 7-10 will battle it out in the play-in games, so if Dallas wants to avoid that, they have to get the sixth spot, which is occupied by the Blazers, who have a 3.5 game lead on the Mavericks.

Kristaps Porzingis makes another return to New York City, and he’s playing well. Porzingis is averaging 24.8 points (.469 FG%), 11.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 blocks per game over his last four games, including 19 points and eight rebounds against Boston. 

The 25-year-old Porzingis, selected by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, spent three seasons in the “Big Apple” and became an All-Star in 2018. Ultimately, the 7-3 star, who tore his ACL in 2018, wanted out of New York and was traded to Dallas with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two future first-round picks. 

While things did not work out for Porzingis in NYC, he does miss the city.

 “I miss the city; I miss this place,” Porzingis said via Zoom on Thursday. “A lot of great memories. Every time I come back, it’s special. A lot of people here still recognize me and show me love and support. It’s always good to come back.”

It should be interesting to see how Porzingis plays tonight against New York. Last season, in two matchups against the Knicks, both losses, Porzingis averaged 24.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks per game, which is his highest career scoring average against any team. 

Dallas finishes their five-game road trip on Saturday night in Washington against the Wizards.

Notes:

JJ Redick met with the Dallas media for the first time on Thursday. Redick and Nicolo Melli were acquired by the Mavs from New Orleans before the trade deadline.

Redick appeared in 31 games this season for New Orleans, averaging 8.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists. The 36-year-old Redick, who is out with a right heel injury, wanted to be traded to an East Coast team. However, he’s excited to play with Doncic and Porzingis.

“Well, they’re great players,” he said. “I’m very excited to play with them. In a sense, they’re both the proverbial unicorn. There’s not many people at seven-foot-three that can do what KP does, and Luka is as good as anybody in the league at creating his own shot and creating for other people. I’ve been very fortunate to play with some great players in my career, and those two guys are going to be at top of the list for sure.”

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.

Carlisle on Doncic, Porzingis: ‘As we move along in this, their chemistry continues to build’

The Mavericks(19-16) picked up where they left off before the All-Star break. Led by the duo of Kristaps Porzingis, who had a team-high 28 points and 14 rebounds, and All-Star Luka Doncic, who had a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists, the Mavericks defeated the Spurs(18-15) at home 115-104.

Dallas has now won four straight and 11 of their last 14 games.

Doncic and Porzingis combined for 50 points and 26 rebounds. After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle discussed the growing chemistry between Doncic and Porzingis. 

“They’re both great young players,” Carlisle said. “As we move along in this, their chemistry continues to build. We’re seeing a lot of different situations with KP [Kristaps Porzingis], different kinds of guys guarding him; smaller guys, liberal switching, trying to bait him into situations that aren’t great situations for him or the team. 

“He’s doing a great job of reading and making the defense pay a price. Sometimes it’s just simply with spacing, sometimes it’s with cutting, sometimes it’s with flashes deep into the paint and creating kick-out 3s or and-ones. I just really love the way he’s adjusting to the way people are playing him. Doncic is great. Guy was a starter on the All-Star team. What else do you want me to say?”

Doncic, who recorded his 33rd overall triple-double, which ties Bob Cousy for the 13th-most in NBA history, likes what he sees out of Porzingis.

“We are progressing as a team,” Doncic said. “KP has been way better gaining confidence after his injury. I think he is still working to build his confidence, and he is going to be way better.”

Porzingis missed the first nine games of the season due to knee surgery in the offseason and missed three games recently due to a back injury, but according to him, he’s almost back to himself.

“I feel like I am getting there,” he said. “I still have to keep working at it. After surgery, the leg is not feeling the same, so you have to keep working on the strength and make sure that is strong and stable, and you feel confident. It is nonstop work… I am looking forward to the second part of the season.”

When Doncic and Porzingis are rolling, Dallas is tough to beat, and seeing Porzingis playing well is a welcomed sight for the Mavericks and their fanbase.

Mavs’ Porzingis, Richardson happy with team’s direction as they head into All-Star break

The Mavericks(18-16) go into the All-Star break playing some decent basketball. Dallas has won three straight and 10 of their last 13, including Wednesday night’s 87-78 home victory over the Thunder(14-21). 

Dallas was without their star Luka Doncic, who missed Wednesday’s game due to lower back tightness.

The Mavericks struggled with their shot against OKC and shot only 39% from the field, including 8-40 from three-point range. In the first half, Dallas was 1-19 from three-point range, but it was all about what Dallas did on defense. They held OKC to a season-low of 78 points.

After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle talked about the rough shooting night and the great defense.

“What a tough game,” Carlisle said. “It was going to be difficult, it was going to be physical, it was going to be tight,” Carlisle said. “The shooting wasn’t there, particularly in the first half. When I looked at halftime, it was hard to believe we were 1-for-19 from 3. But we just kept with the process, stepped into some shots in the second half. The defense was tremendous — maybe our second-best game other than one early on—three sub-20-point quarters. The defensive belt tonight went to the entire team, which is a bit of a departure but appropriate for the circumstance.”

Now, the focus is getting rest during All-Star weekend. The Mavericks had a lot of issues with COVID-19 in the first half of the season. Guys like Josh Richardson,  Jalen Brunson, Maxi Kleiber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Dwight Powell all missed time due to health and safety protocols, but now those guys are healthy.

According to Kristaps Porzingis, who had 19 points and 13 rebounds against OKC, Dallas is starting to get a rhythm. 

“I started the season late. Maxi [Kleber] and Dwight [Powell] and everyone was catching the virus,” Porzingis said. “We didn’t have the whole team playing for a while. It just took time, and also the schedule was really tough. It was a combination of things. The good thing is that we are getting in a rhythm lately and want to keep it going after the break.”

Richardson, who had 16 points on Wednesday night, added: “We have had a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. We have had six-game skids, three-game skids and have just been all over the place. But I think we are starting to find good form, and hopefully, it carries over after the break.”

Dallas is playing good basketball right now, and you wonder if the break is coming at the wrong time because this team seems to have found a rhythm. The rest should be good for this team as they prepare to make a playoff push in the final 36 games of the regular season.

Photo: @dallasmavs/twitter

 

Carlisle on Porzingis against Brooklyn: ‘I thought KP was terrific’

On Saturday night, the Dallas Mavericks(16-16) got Kristaps Porzingis back in the lineup against the Brooklyn Nets. Porzingis and Luka Doncic led the way for Dallas against Brooklyn. Doncic scored a team-high 27 points, and Porzingis chipped in with 18 points as the Mavericks defeated the shorthanded Nets 115-98 at Barclays Center.

“We just played like a team,” Doncic said after the game. “Everybody involved everybody doing the effort on defense and offense. Just playing like a team.” 

Brooklyn(22-13) was without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on Saturday night, and without those two, Brooklyn was held to 34 points in the second half, and James Harden, who scored 25 points in the first half, was held to four points the rest of the way. 

According to Doncic, the team was more aggressive on defense against Harden and the Nets in the second half. 

“He’s a great player,” Doncic said about Harden. “Obviously, they had two great players out, but he’s an amazing player. It’s very tough to stop him. We did a great job in the second half. I think it was way better. Just I think more aggressive.”

Back to Porzingis, who made his return after missing three games with lower back tightness, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was happy to get his big man back and happy with his performance on Saturday night.

“I thought KP was terrific,” Carlisle said. “He had good bounce. He had surprisingly good rhythm for a guy who hasn’t not played in 10 days. I thought his rim protection and defense was the best it’s been all year. It just shows the amount of work he’s been putting in over the last 10 or 11 days.”

The Mavericks caught a break not going against a full Brooklyn squad, but Dallas is back at .500, and now they have a chance to get over that mark when they head to Orlando to battle the Magic on Monday night.