Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. played against the Pacers with such ease on offense as a number 1 and 2 option, you’d never even think the team was missing a triple double machine with one of the league’s highest usage rates. There have been a number of games this season that seemed almost comically egalitarian -- box scores with seven or eight Mavs in double digits — but this was not that. THJ and KP combined for 63 of Dallas’ 112 total points.
For the Pacers, an onslaught of scoring in the paint kept them in the game the whole way through, even as the Mavericks over 40 percent from three as a team. Sabonis was the leading scorer for Indianapolis with 26, but the 56 points the Pacers scored in the lane was a team effort, and something the Mavericks have struggled to counter this season.
Kristaps Porzingis was a man on fire
Porzingis set a season scoring high, finishing with 38 points and a blazing hot night shooting the ball from deep. He was 5/7 from three in the first half alone, and cooled off in the second end up at 6/13. Still, he finished with a 38/12 double double that included going a perfect 12/12 from the free throw line.
With many of KP’s best games this season coming with Luka sidelined, there are a couple ways to look at this... Optimistically, there’s a point to be made that Porzingis and Doncic’s two-man game are building towards a peak that will reach its apex just as the playoffs start, striking fear in to the first round team unlucky enough to draw Dallas. Pessimistically... is Luka’s game too ball dominant at the expense of the rhythm of perhaps their best shooter? Just take that fear and push it deep, deep down. Deep down. And ignore it.
J.J. Barea is a man down (and so is the guard depth)
The Mavericks’ veteran floor general has been called upon early and often through this latest slate of games without Luka. Unfortunately for the long-time fan favorite, not to mention the guard depth of the Mavericks, Barea sprained his left ankle and left the game after playing just 9 minutes. Dallas’ guard depth is limping towards the much needed All-Star break with Luka out, Seth missing this game with knee issues, now J.J. The only positive is that none of the injuries seem to be too serious, so the hope is we’ll see them back close to 100 percent after some time off.
The NBA’s road warriors
This has been mentioned with some frequency, probably by myself at least once, but Dallas owning the second best road record in the West is a truly confounding through point of this season so far. If the concept of “home court advantage” is to hold any water, surely you’d expect the team to play at least as well at home as they do on the road? Well, not so for these Mavericks.
Again, optimistically, the hope is that Dallas can gather themselves post All-Star break to close the gap between their home and road records.
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.