The Dallas Mavericks (41-29) welcomed back starter Kristaps Porzingis, who put forth an efficient offensive showing in a 125-107 win over the New Orleans Pelicans (31-39).
KP started out the game looking for his shot, converting an and-1 attempt to open up the scoring in the first quarter.
Porzingis was able to find his rhythm early on in the game, contributing 12 of the Mavs’ 32 first quarter points, hitting 4/6 from the field including, 1/2 from deep and sank all three free throws.
The Mavs then went on to drop 45 points in the second quarter, the most in team history, and the game was a wash from there.
Aside from JJ Redick still receiving load management for his heel soreness, Dallas’ roster is fully healthy for once and happens to be at the perfect time as well.
Mad Luka made his mark tonight
With time dwindling down at the end of the first quarter, Luka pushed the ball down the floor and sent a shot fake before hoisting a three-point shot right as the buzzer sounded and received clear contact from a Pelicans’ defender, only to see the ball bounce off the rim and players walk back to their respective sidelines.
Instead of barking at the officials for blatantly missing a call, the man came out in the second quarter to nail 5/5 from behind the three-point line.
Much has been made about Luka’s interactions with refs because more often than not it ends with a technical being handed out, as he’s tied for the league-lead with 16 violations.
One more and he receives a one-game suspension, and fans have seen how that can play out during important games during the postseason.
With almost every tangible skill in a basketball player’s arsenal at his disposal, the only thing Doncic can do to up his game is gain more experience through court time and mature throughout his career.
To see him come out and prove that it doesn’t matter whether he gets foul calls because he can hit five three’s in a row if he wants is something you can’t teach, and the maturity a star player needs is clearly in the making for Luka Doncic.
Pushing for better playoff seeding
With the win for the Mavs, the Pelicans were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, while also boosting Dallas’ chances of avoiding the play-in tournament scenario.
The Portland Trail Blazers (41-29) beat the Donovan Mitchell-less Utah Jazz, keeping hold of the fifth seed over the Mavs by virtue of owning the season-series tiebreaker.
Each team has two remaining games to pull ahead of the other, but with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets within one game of each other in the third and fourth seeds, respectively, the ability to forecast a potential playoff opponent is out the window this season.
The Trail Blazers will see the Phoenix Suns on the second game of a back-to-back after downing the Jazz and then finish off the season against the Nuggets May 16.
The Mavs will face the now-playoff eliminated Toronto Raptors Friday, May 14 and conclude its season at the Minnesota Timberwolves.
There is no such thing as a certain win in a league full of professional athletes, but the Mavs’ remaining opponents are on the outside looking in at the postseason while Rip City will have to contend with two top-four seeds in the Western Conference.
Now is the chance for Dallas to make its move in the standings and leapfrog Portland, because if the Mavs are able to survive in the first round and advance, seeing the Jazz without its star player or a team that was seeded seventh through tenth is much more appealing than the squaring off against red-hot Suns.
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