The Mavericks floored the gas pedal from the tip, completing a 9-0 run before the game was even two minutes old, then went on to demolish the Blazers 126-97 in a game that featured a full quarter and a half of garbage time.
Luka Dončić led the Mavericks with 41 points, six rebounds and five assists in the blowout win and sat the fourth quarter for rest. Kyrie Irving looked sensational against the hapless Trail Blazers defense as well, scoring 29 points, pulling down nine boards and dishing five assists in his second game back after missing 12 in a row with a heel contusion.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 14 off the bench in the win.
Here are three over-the-top stats from the game that do a good job of encapsulating just what a beatdown we witnessed Wednesday night.
52-47: The 2-on-5 halftime score
Dončić and Irving outscored the Trail Blazers by themselves in the first two quarters, 52-47. Dončić scored 30 in the first half for the 10th time in his career and for the second time this season — both against the Blazers. Dončić came into the game leading the NBA in first-half scoring at 19.3 points per game and blew past that mark with ease Wednesday.
As unstoppable as Dončić was, Irving was the tone-setter early for the Mavs, connecting on four of his first seven 3-point attempts and scoring 22 points before halftime. The pair combined for a ridiculous 70 points in just three quarters.
The 78 points Dallas scored in the first half is tied for the eighth-most in a first half in Mavericks franchise history. The Mavs scored 77 in the first half in their 144-126 win on Nov. 10 against the Clippers.
11 and 8: Portland first-quarter fouls and turnovers
As dominant as the Mavericks were on Wednesday, the latest win over Portland wasn’t always pretty to watch. The first quarter was choppy and disjointed, helped along by 11 team fouls and eight turnovers from the visiting Trail Blazers.
Dallas made 13-of-17 free throws in the quarter and 19-of-25 in the first half. Dončić went 7-of-9 on his own in the first quarter and 11-of-14 overall from the stripe on the night.
We’d really like to give the Mavericks’ defense their fair share of the credit here in turning the Blazers over 20 times in the game, but the already-thin Portland roster was strained going into the game without DeAndre Ayton and Moses Brown due to injury. Then Duop Reath was ejected after sending an elbow shiver to Josh Green’s schnoz in the lane late in the second that earned him a flagrant foul-2 and further shortened the already short Portland bench.
11 and 8: Dallas steals and blocks
But what the heck — we can give our boys at least a couple of their flowers, if not the full defensive bouquet. After all, Mavs fans know better than to apologize for any win in any form. Dallas recorded 11 steals and eight blocks in the win, which, combined, is a season-high effort on the defensive end.
Unfortunately, 2: Sprained ankles
Wins against Portland have unfortunately come at a great cost this season. On Dec. 8, a 125-112 Mavericks win, Irving injured his heel when Dwight Powell fell on his leg on a dead ball, forcing the star guard to miss the next 12 games. Dallas beat the Blazers again on Dec. 16, 131-120, but that was the game Dereck Lively II sprained his ankle and had to miss the team’s next four games.
The Mavericks accumulated two more sprained ankles on Wednesday in the blowout win. Lively rolled his ankle hard trying to gather an errant pass from Dončić in the third quarter when he got tangled up with Blazers’ rookie forward Scoot Henderson. He was immediately helped to the locker room with a left ankle sprain — that’s the same ankle he hurt earlier in the year.
Then just a few minutes later, Grant Williams sprained his right ankle while battling for a loose ball. Dallas coach Jason Kidd said in his postgame comments that both the ankle sprains appeared to be mild, so hey, that’s something.
It’s about enough for us to wonder whether Kidd can get on the horn with the Texas Legends to see if they want to play the Blazers on Friday, when Dallas and Portland will run it back for their final meeting of the year.