Minnesota Timberwolves bad. Dallas Mavericks good.
This was proven with the Mavericks second blowout win against the Timberwolves in about a week, this time a 111-91 drubbing in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
Kristaps Porzingis had an absolutely monster game, Seth Curry kept up his hot streak and the Timberwolves are just a big mess of a team right now. If there’s one thing we can count on with these current Dallas Mavericks, it’s clubbing bad lottery teams to death on the road.
Even when the Mavericks were coasting in the third quarter, the Wolves never got the lead below 15 points. Dallas did whatever it wanted all night. This was not a competitive game, despite the score never getting into laugher territory. Reminder: Luka Doncic didn’t even play.
Let’s go what we observed.
Breaking News: The Mavericks won the Kristaps Porzingis trade
In the month of February, Porzingis averaged 25.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 blocks per game on 48.3/39.8/88.1 shooting splits. In his first game of March, he just kept it going by stomping on the Wolves’ neck.
How does 38 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, five blocks and six-made three pointers sound? Pretty damn good, I’d say! Rick Carlisle even let Porzingis play toward the end of the fourth quarter to try and beat his career-high of 40 points.
As I’ve written about in the last two weeks, Porzingis did it by being more involved in the offense, touching the ball consistently and being more confident in his jumper. Dallas moved Porzingis all over the floor and he had catches from the three point line to the rim and everything in between. Porzingis looked really good catching the ball in the post, pivoting into a face-up, using a jab step to create space and then lofting a jumper over the defender. It’s a much better shot than his post-up fadeaways and he seems really confident in them right now.
He also bombed from deep, which we’ve come to expect, averaging 9.2 three attempts per game in February. This is the Porzingis everyone invisioned when the Mavericks traded for him over a year ago and it feels sustainable as Doncic and Porzingis get comfortable and the Mavericks keep using Porzingis in lineups that unlock his true potential. The Porzingis at center lineup is here to stay, to say the least.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry are just dynamite together
The duo of Curry and Hardaway in the starting lineup have just been running roughshod over the last few weeks, cresting with Porzingis’ recent rise. When you have center like Porzingis and two perimeter threats like Hardaway and Curry, it makes it really hard for defenses to key in on one player.
Curry and Hardaway did it again on Sunday, with Curry shooting flames again with 27 points on 17 shots and Hardaway had a more “normal” game of 19 points on 16 sots. The two only went 5-of-14 from three, but their activity around the three point line and off-the-ball were crucial, as Hardaway had some nice scores at the rim and Curry was beautiful in the pick and roll with Porzingis.
In the 184 minutes Curry and Hardaway Jr. played together in February, they outscored teams by 79 points while the Mavericks shot 50.4 from the field and 43.3 from three. This is working.
The Mavericks wing depth is still an issue
While this was a resoundingly positive game for the Mavericks, the backup wing problem is still somewhat of an issue.
It’s no surprise the Dallas bench struggled, without Doncic and Jalen Brunson, but once again the Mavericks got nothing from their backup wings.
Jackson got into a game for the first time since Feb. 24 and played 20 minutes, went 1-of-4 from the field and 0-for-2 from three. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t play until the final three minutes of the game. Dallas needs more from one of these guys.
It’s clear Carlisle is going to just keep rotating through the duo until one of them can stick. There’s a chance none of them do, which will put a lot of pressure on Dorian Finney-Smith. Thankfully depth doesn’t matter as much in the playoffs, but this is definitely a big issue on the Mavericks roster as they try to close the season strong. They just get nothing from their backup wing every night, no matter who it is.
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.