Facing a trap game of sorts after a monumental road win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavericks predictably came out sluggish tallying five miscues and shooting one-of-five from the field within the first five minutes. The Mavericks were aided by Kristaps Porzingis’ five points and four blocks and Luka Doncic’s 12 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter alone. The Mavericks as a team shot 25 percent and were fortunate to keep the game tied at 24-24 after the first quarter.
The second frame opened with an 11-0 Pelicans run, and the Mavericks saw Porzingis pick up his third foul with 9:47 remaining in the quarter. In danger of letting the game get out of hand, Dallas responded with a 9-0 run of their own to keep the game within arms reach. The story of the half was J.J. Barea who played in only three games prior but collected eight points and four assists in only seven minutes of action. He was able to steady the ship until Doncic checked back in with 6:12 left and the Mavericks down 39-35. With the Western Conference Player of the Month at the helm, Dallas outscored the Pelicans 24-14 the rest of the way to take a 59-53 lead into the half.
The third quarter was the Luka Doncic show as he played the entire 12 minutes helping the Mavericks extend their lead by three. The Pelicans had no answer for the 20-year-old as Dallas took an 84-75 lead into the final frame. But the Mavericks weren’t done there as they jumped out to a quick 6-0 run to push the lead to 15 early in the fourth and never looked back. Dallas outscored New Orleans by 12 in the quarter and took care of business winning their eighth game on the road, 118-97.
On to some thoughts:
Kristaps Porzingis struggled mightily on offense
Porzingis looked like he was on his way to a breakout game registering five points and four blocks in the first seven minutes of action. He wasn’t a world beater offensively, but his defensive presence was profound, making shots difficult for the Pelicans at any proximity of the rim.
But with 9:47 left in the second quarter, Porzingis picked up his third foul which forced him to sit the rest of the half. He never could quite get a rhythm, but the Mavericks weren’t going to end the game without trying. In the third quarter Dallas force fed Porzingis in the mid post, but the possessions predictably ended in a missed shot. He played about 8:30 minutes and missed all four of his jump shots and scored two points off free throws. For the game Porzingis tallied seven points, six rebounds and five blocks on 2-of-11 shooting. Luckily for the Mavericks, Doncic was that dude and the Pelicans are floundering a bit, but the team will need Porzingis to be a consistent threat to make any noise in the playoffs.
The Seth Curry game!
At long last we see the Curry of old! The sharp shooter contributed seven points in the second quarter and 12 points in the fourth quarter, which significantly helped the Mavericks put the game away and notched a season high 19 points (5-of-7 from deep). Curry’s season has unquestionably been the strangest development of the season, but it seemed like it was only a matter of time before positive regression hit and Curry threw flames from deep. When the Mavericks get this kind of performance from Curry, the offense almost seems unstoppable. Curry is playing fewer minutes with Doncic as of late, but a reliable contributor off the bench can take this team to new heights.
Luka Doncic is absurd
With the first quarter winding down and Doncic having already notched 12 points and seven rebounds, I made a wish for Doncic to record his first 20/20 game. Someone on Twitter said “20/20 is too low, why not 30/20”, which was right on the money. Seriously, 33 points, 18 rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes.. are you kidding me? That’s downright ridiculous and Doncic certainly would have achieved the mark had the bench not taken care of business at the start of the fourth. However he saved his best work for the third period, recording 15 points and 10 rebounds in that frame alone while also accounting for 19 of the Mavericks 25 points.
At some point it seems like Luka might hit a wall, but he’s currently 37th in total minutes played at 648 (excluding tonight) and 22nd in minutes per game at 34.1. Each game he does something different, and aside from the trip to Denver early on, he’s been the best player on the floor practically every single game. Doncic deserves all the recognition he can get. Oh by the way, Doncic made it 16 straight games with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, inching two games away from Michael Jordan’s record of 18.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.