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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mavs’ Doncic named Western Conference Player of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Luka: ‘Sometimes you simply run out of adjectives to describe how good he is’

The Dallas Mavericks(21-18) were looking to avenge Monday’s loss to the Clippers(26-16) on Wednesday night, and behind their All-Star guard Luka Doncic, Dallas defeated the Clippers at home 105-89 in the second of their two-game set with Los Angeles.

Doncic was 16-28 from the field, including 6-11 from three-point range. He also had nine assists, six rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Doncic has now scored 40-plus against the Clippers on three occasions (incl. playoffs), his most against any team. 

It was like a playoff game at American Airlines Center on Wednesday night, which Doncic discussed after the game. 

“They’re a really good defensive team,” Doncic said about the Clippers. “The past two games were like playoffs.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle ran out of words to describe the greatness of Doncic.

“Luka [Dončić] was spectacular,” Carlisle said. “Sometimes, you simply run out of adjectives to describe how good he is. But he was exceptionally good tonight, and we needed every point, every rebound, every assist, and defensively, he was terrific as well.”

Maxi Kleber, who had 12 points for Dallas on Wednesday night, has a lot of confidence when Doncic shoots the basketball.

“Sometimes, when I am on the court, it feels the same way,” he said. “You see him attack the guys, and he takes an easy step back; that looks so simple for him, but every time he shoots it, you think that is cash. He creates a little bit of space, and he doesn’t need much, and he shoots it, and every time the ball goes up, I think it is a basket. Today he just did incredible things. He was scoring on every possession, it felt like. He is a very rare and special talent. I think that was Luka Magic everybody has been seeing all year long here.”

Dallas now travels to Portland to face the Blazers in a two-game set starting on Friday, and according to Josh Richardson, Dallas will be ready.

“It’s my first year in the Western Conference,” he said. “Seeing all these tough opponents every night is tough. It’s a grind. But I think we have the players and the depth to fight through that and to be able to go out and battle.”

Notes:

Paul George led the Clippers with 28 points (5-8 3FG), 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 41 minutes.

Kawhi Leonard had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists for the Clippers. Leonard has scored 20+ points in 21 of his last 22 games.

Mavericks’ Doncic takes blame for loss to Clippers on Monday night

After getting blown by 51 points by the Mavericks(20-18) earlier in the season, you knew the Los Angeles Clippers(26-15) were going to do everything in their power to defeat Dallas on Monday night, and they did.

The Clippers had seven players in double figures, led by Kawhi Leonard, who had 22 points as Los Angeles defeated Dallas 109-99 at American Airlines Center. 

Fortunately for Dallas, they have a chance to get revenge against the Clippers, who they’ll face in the second game of their two-game set on Wednesday night.

These two teams battled hard in this game, and according to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, Monday’s contest felt like a playoff game.

“This is high-level, playoff-caliber basketball in the middle of March,” Carlisle said. “This is a great challenge for us. We’ll look at the film, we’ll study it, we’ll make some adjustments. Wednesday, we’re going have to do things better.”

Dallas’ Luka Doncic finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and a season-high-tying 16 assists for his 34th career triple-double (9th this season), but he struggled down the stretch.

After being down by as much as 12 points in the fourth quarter, Dallas cut the lead to four(103-99) with a little over three minutes left. However, with a chance to make it a one-possession game, Doncic committed a turnover. Doncic missed a floater on the next possession, and ultimately the Clippers would take control from there. Dallas would not score in the final three minutes of the game. 

Doncic committed four of his seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. The third-year guard was not happy with his play in the fourth and felt like this loss was on him, which he discussed after the game.

“You can’t make every shot, obviously,” Doncic said. “But this was on me. I took some terrible shots at mid-court, and that game is on me.

“I lost too many balls. That’s it.”

It did feel like playoff basketball in March, and if you remember, these two teams had a very competitive first-round series last season, in which the Clippers were able to win in six. It’s always fun when these two teams get together, so expect an entertaining game on Wednesday night.

Notes:

Kristaps Porzingis went 9-14 from the field en route to 22 points and 7 rebounds. Over his last 10 games, Porzingis is averaging 22.5 points (.546 FG%, .446 3FG%) and 8.6 rebounds per game. The Mavs are 8-2 in those 10 games.

Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench for Dallas and scored 21 points on 8-12 FGs, including 5-9 from deep. Hardaway Jr. has scored in double figures in 16 of his last 19 games, and he has 20+ points in two of his last three appearances.