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3 things we observed as the Mavericks thrash the Kings, 130-111

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Doncic returned and the Mavericks looked like a wildly different team. Who would have thought.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic is back and all is right in the world. After a sluggish one-for-four start, the Mavericks adjusted quickly and looked like a much better basketball team compared to what we’ve seen recently. They finished the quarter shooting 12-of-15, and Dallas featured Kristaps Porzingis in the pick-and-roll which led to a few easy looks. Dallas led 32-38 after one fending off a Sacramento 7-0 run to close the quarter.

The Kings kept it going and threatened the Mavericks taking a 39-38 lead with around eight minutes to go in the second, but Dallas responded with a 10-2 run and took control of the second quarter from then on. Led by Doncic’s 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Dallas was able to take a 63-52 lead into the half. The Kings received 20 combined points from Buddy Hield and Kent Bazemore off the bench.

Doncic and the Mavericks kept their foot on the gas in the third quarter extending their lead to as large as 21 points. Porzingis was a focal point in the frame, and he rewarded the team with 14 third quarter points. Interestingly, Carlisle opted to keep Porzingis and Doncic in to start the fourth, and the Mavericks effectively put the game away early in the fourth.

Dallas scorched the nets shooting 57 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind the arc and limited the Kings to only 41 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent from behind the arc. Sacramento was led by Buddy Hields 22 points and nine assists, while Dallas was paced by Doncic and Porzingis’ combined 60 points.

With the 130-111 beatdown of the Kings, the Mavericks head to the all-star break at 33-22.

Porzingis and Doncic can work

Duh.

Hopefully the sarcasm was felt, but it was bewildering to see Porzingis perform his best when Doncic missed games. But tonight was a glimpse of the Porzingis of old and the Porzingis the Mavericks hope to pair with Doncic for years to come. The two combined for 60 points, 25 rebounds and 13 assists, but individually, Porzingis scored 27 points (11-of-16 shooting), grabbed 13 rebounds, dished five assists (season high) and blocked three shots. He stuffed the stat sheet, and his usage was highly effective. The Kings played a large percentage of the game without a true five, and Porzingis punished them from all over the floor. He posted on the wing and at the free throw line on many occasions and simply rose above the smaller defenders. There were no wasted movements and no aimless dribbles. He looked confident and decisive.

Doncic makes basketball fun again

I’ll admit I hit some basketball lows as the Mavericks played some uninspiring ball the past week or so, but my soul was refreshed watching Doncic frolic around the basketball court like the 20-year-old kid he is. His vision is elite and when his three-point shot is falling, he’s impossible to guard. He even had a number of circus shots go in because that just seems to be how things go for him. He finished the game with 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and didn’t look like he missed a beat at all. After a few missed free throws, he collected himself and connected on 10 of his 12 attempts while also canning three of his seven triples.

Exciting things happened in the third

It started with tenacious defense from Delon Wright who blocked Nemanja Bjelica. Porzingis gathered the rebounds, shuffled it back to Wright, and then the party started. Wright pushed the pace and right as he was ready to retreat, he caught a glimpse of Porzingis blitzing to the basket. And the result was pure filth:

But the Mavericks weren’t done creating highlight reels. While De’Aaron Fox and Hield thought they would execute a simple two-on-one fast break, Maxi Kleber had other plans:

The timing was impeccable and the spike was ferocious. He almost punched it in himself!

The Mavericks are off until next Friday, but be sure to tune in with us for the all-star festivities.

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.