Luka Doncic returned from a seven-game absence Wednesday night to help his team to a 130-111 route of the Sacramento Kings.
It was his first appearance since January 28th, meaning he’s sat out for over two full weeks of action.
But Mavericks fans would tell you it felt like forever.
Tonight’s game was likely a 48-minute sigh of relief for them. It was a sign that, in spite of how trying times might get, Luka is still here and still great. Just seeing him out there was enough of a reminder of that, but posting a 33-point, 12-rebound, 8-assist performance was a nice way to reintroduce himself
“Just play basketball,” Luka said succinctly of his approach during the game. “Just have to let the game come to you.”
Aside from the prodigal son returning, the most glaring takeaway from tonight’s game might be Kristaps Porzingis’ continued excellent play. And this time it was with Luka!
It has been the biggest talking point of the season thus far. Why aren’t he and Luka meshing well together? Can they figure it out? Is KP better off without him?
That talk was always premature, and if I do say so myself, nonsensical. The two haven’t even played 35 games together.
KP’s 27-point, 13-rebound, 3-block outing seemed to answer whatever lingering questions there were emphatically. He mixed in some pops, rolls, postups, drives, etc… It was a vintage Unicorn showing.
“We looked good out there tonight,” KP said of the Mavericks dynamic duo. “Luka has done a great job communicating to me about where I’m going to get the ball and he’s really starting to find me in those spots.”
With their win tonight, the Mavericks shifted into 6th place in the Western Conference standings with Oklahoma City being idle. They sit three games back of fourth place Utah, with seven of their next eight coming against opponents with below .500 records.
If tonight’s game was any indication, they will have a chance to make a push for home-court advantage, health permitting.
Sprinkle in the post-break debut of defensive ace Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Mavericks have to be feeling pretty good at the unofficial midway point. Their head coach certainly is.
“It’s great to win your last game going into the break,” Coach Carlisle said of his teams play. “It’s going to be a great break and it will be greater because we won tonight.”
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