Luka Doncic on buzzer-beater against Grizzlies: ‘It was kind of lucky’

Sometimes in life and the NBA, it’s better to be lucky than good. On Wednesday night, luck was on the side of the Dallas Mavericks against the Memphis Grizzlies.

First, with the Mavericks down 113-111 with 02.2 seconds to go, Memphis’ Grayson Allen, a 91% free throw shooter, had an opportunity to put the game away. However, Allen missed both free throws, which gave Luka Doncic and the Mavericks an opportunity.

With 01.8 seconds left, Doncic hit a one-foot, three-point shot at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 114-113 win on the road. 

Doncic finished with 29 points, nine assists, and five rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis poured in 21 points. The Grizzlies were led by Allen, who had 23 points. 

After the game, Doncic discussed the game-winning shot.

“I was kind of falling down,” Doncic said. “So, it was kind of lucky. We’ll take it.”

This was a big game for both teams, and Wednesday’s game had a playoff-like atmosphere. The eighth-seeded Grizzlies(27-26) were looking to get closer to the seventh-seeded Mavericks(30-24), and both teams are trying to catch the sixth-seeded Blazers(31-23) to avoid the play-in tournament. 

However, this game was all about the greatness of Doncic.

“You expect him to make those shots,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. “The fact that he was running, off the wrong foot. In the context of Luka and what he’s capable of, these are shots that he makes all the time.” 

If there is a big shot, Doncic is willing to take it, and it appears he’s always going to make it, and he did that on Wednesday night.

Dallas will now start a five-game homestand on Friday night against the New York Knicks. After New York, they have the Kings, Pistons, and a two-game set against the Lakers, which will probably be without LeBron James, so these games are very winnable for Dallas and a great chance to get that sixth seed in the West. 

Watch as Carlisle reacts to the greatness of Doncic:

Doncic on DeRozan game-winner: ‘He made a hell of a shot’

The San Antonio Spurs(25-26) have had difficulty winning close games of late. During their five-game losing streak, San Antonio lost two games in overtime, and they lost by two points to the Nuggets on Friday night.

Fortunately for San Antonio, DeMar DeRozan came alive against the Mavericks on Sunday night. DeRozan scored 27 of his 33 points in the second half, including the game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds left as the Spurs defeated the Mavericks(29-23) on the road 119-117 to snap their five-game losing streak. 

DeRozan also added eight assists and five rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis led the way for Dallas with 31 points and 15 rebounds, and Luka Doncic added 29 points.

According to the Spurs, since DeRozan was drafted in 2009, he has 27 field goals to tie or take the lead in the final minute of the game (including playoffs). Only four players have more: Damian Lillard (35), Russell Westbrook (32), Kevin Durant (30), and LeBron James (28).

After the game, DeRozan discussed the game-winner.

“Honestly, just trying to get to my spot knowing the clock,” DeRozan said. “Take my time, not rushing, and just going to the move I’ve worked on so many times. Concentrate and knock down a shot.”

Doncic added on DeRozan’s game-winner: “He made a hell of a shot. It was good defending, I think, he made a hell of a shot. Props to him for making the shot.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle had Dorian Finney-Smith guarding DeRozan on the final shot and chose not to bring a double-team. According to Carlisle, that was a mistake.

 “We elected to let [Dorian Finney-Smith] guard him straight-up,” he said. “In hindsight, we obviously should have gone, and that’s on me. That’s my decision. That’s a detailed description of it.”

This was a good win for the Spurs, who continue to be a much better team on the road(13-9) than at home(12-17). However, for the Mavericks, this was a disappointing loss as they had an opportunity to extend their lead in the standings over Spurs and had a chance to get closer to the sixth-seeded Blazers. 

Both teams get back at it on Monday night. The Mavericks host the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded team, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Spurs continue their five-game road trip in Orlando against the Magic.

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.

Mavs’ Carlisle happy with team’s offensive effort against OKC

When you are making a playoff push, there are certain games you can’t lose, and for the Dallas Mavericks(24-21), that game was on Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder(19-27), who were without their leading-scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

While Dallas let the Thunder hang around in the first half and led by eight at the break, the team asserted their dominance in the second half, and more specifically, the third quarter, where the Mavericks pushed their half time lead to 17 entering the fourth quarter. Dallas would go up by as much as 27 points in the fourth quarter and would defeat OKC 127-106 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Luka Doncic, who missed the last two games due to back tightness/illness, led Dallas with 25 points and seven assists, and Kristaps Porzingis scored 12 of his 20 points in the first quarter with nine rebounds and a career-high-tying five assists. Aleksej Pokusevski led OKC with 21 points. 

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was not happy with the team’s play in the first half, but he loved what they did in the second half. 

“The first half was a bit disjointed,” Carlisle said after the game. “Our first quarter was okay. Second quarter was not very good. Second half, I thought we played to our level, our capabilities.”

Dallas did a great job sharing the ball on Monday night. They had 30 assists against the Thunder and shot 53% from the floor. The 30 assists and 127 points made Carlisle happy.

“Overall, I thought there was a lot of very good offensive stuff,” he said. “A 127 points in an NBA game, you’re moving it pretty good and 30 assists; that’s a damn good number.”

After a day off on Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks continue their five-game road trip on Wednesday night in Boston against the Celtics.

Notes:

Dallas moved to the seventh spot in the Western Conference with the win over OKC after the Spurs fell to the Kings. 

Nicolo Melli scored six points in his Mavs’ debut. Melli and J.j. Redick were acquired by Dallas from New Orleans before the trade deadline.

Hardaway Jr. on Williamson: ‘That guy is very, very strong’

On Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans(20-25), the Dallas Mavericks(23-21) were without their top two players in Luka Doncic(illness) and Kristaps Porzingis(rest).

Dallas battled and fought hard against the Pelicans, but they just did not have enough. Zion Williamson scored 13 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans defeated the Mavericks 112-103 at Smoothie Kings Center.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavericks with 30 points off the bench and got the Mavericks back into the game and helped Dallas take a lead after they trailed by 15 points in the first quarter, but this game was all about Williamson, who at times, was unstoppable. 

According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, Williamson was Shaquille O’Neal-like with point guard skills.

“This is a Shaquille O’Neal type force of nature with a point guard skill-set,” Carlisle said. “And if you back off of him, he’ll just take up space and keep coming at you… You gotta have a lot of courage to stand in there and get run over by that guy.”

One guy who dared to take a charge from Williamson was Hardaway Jr., who took a charge from Williamson in the second quarter, and after the game, he discussed how it felt.

“Taking a charge, let alone picking him up off the ground, helping him up,” he said. “That guy is very, very strong. Strong as an ox. He’s a great player, heck of a player. He does an amazing job attacking the basket, getting his teammates involved; he’s excellent at his strengths… He’s doing an amazing job, hard to defend him.”

The 20-year-old Williamson is a load and can be a tough guard. He does have some Shaq in his game, but a better comparison is probably Charles Barkley because of his size, ball-handling ability, and athleticism. However, to be compared to Shaq is an honor.

The Mavericks continue their five-game road trip on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Watch as Hardaway Jr. talks Zion Williamson:

 

 

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.”

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.

 

 

 

Mavs’ Richardson: ‘We have so much talent on this roster from the first man to the 15th man’

The last time the Dallas Mavericks(20-17) went into Denver back in January, they won 124-117 in OT, but COVID-19 impacted the team after that game. Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Josh Richardson missed multiple games due to health and safety protocols.

On Saturday night, Dallas returned to Denver, and just as they did in January, they got the victory. Kristaps Porzingis scored 25 points and Luka Doncic had 21 points and 12 assists as the Mavericks defeated the Nuggets(22-16) 116-103. 

“After a very poor start, going down 10-nothing, and we really gathered ourselves well, finished the first quarter strong within a point,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “The second quarter was much, much better, and then, we were able to create more distance, and we did a lot of good things.”

Dallas led by as many as 21 points and was in complete control after three quarters. 

The Mavericks also got another strong game from Josh Richardson, who scored 20 points, including 4/5 from three-point range. The Mavericks are 16-6 when Richardson scores in double figures, and according to Carlisle, Richardson has been a leader on the defensive end.

“Nobody is talking about it, but Josh Richardson has really stepped up in the last two weeks and has been a leader for us defensively, out front on the ball, getting on guys,” Carlisle said. “He’s been one of our leaders. We’re a team that can score, and we’re in a process of developing a collective will for our defense.”

Richardson added on the team: “I think we’re starting to figure out how to play for each other. We have so much talent on this roster from the first man to the 15th man.”

Dallas has now won 12 of their last 16 games and now go home to play a two-game set with the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. Dallas is currently in the 8th-seed in the Western Conference. If they want to make noise in the playoffs, they probably want to get higher in the standings,  and right now, the talent is there for this team to continue to climb the standings out West.