On the first night of a back-to-back, the Mavs found themselves in New Orleans to take on the Pelicans, losers of five games in a row.
It started out ugly but the Mavericks edged out the Pelicans in the second half to give Dallas a 118-97 victory. Luka continued to lead the way with 33 points and an impressive career-high 18 rebounds and 5 assists in just 28 minutes.
Kristaps Porzingis found himself in foul trouble, finishing with 7 points and 6 rebounds but a strong 5 blocks in only 17 minutes. Seth Curry added 19 points off the bench.
18 for Luka. That’s just nuts. And in just 28 minutes? Crazy. “I was just standing under the rim and the ball kept coming to me,” Luka joked after the game with TNT’s Kristen Ledlow.
Being that the Maverick bigs (Porzingis, Powell, and Kleber), though have been better than in past years, aren’t great rebounders for their size. Luka’s ability to crash the boards and really just be in the right place at the right time is so important for this Mavericks team.
With Luka being such a good rebounder, it allows him to grab the ball off the rim and go, creating easy fast break opportunities with his elite playmaking ability.
Fourth Quarter Rest
The Mavericks found themselves up by 9 going into the fourth quarter. With Luka hitting the bench to start the final frame, the Dallas bench made so he didn’t have to touch the floor for the rest of the game. Led by Seth Curry’s hot shooting, the Maverick bench took the game into their own hands with their superstar leader sitting down, playing only 28 minutes.
More importantly, Kristaps Porzingis, who only played 17 minutes due to foul trouble, probably freed up the possibility of him playing tomorrow in the second night of the back-to-back, which was up in the air. Coach Carlisle discussed in the past that KP may not play in back-to-backs to start the season, as he missed the Mavericks first back-to-back this season.
The Mavericks are back home tomorrow against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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