Following Thursday night’s ugly loss in Philadelphia, the Mavs badly needed something to lift their team spirits following a tough week with lots of trade rumors and speculation surrounding big man Kristaps Porzingis. Facing the red-hot Brooklyn Nets who had won eight games in a row heading into Saturday night didn’t seem to be a cure-all. Fortunately for Dallas, both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were unavailable with injury issues. The Nets still have James Harden and some strong role players, but it proved to be not enough as Luka Doncic and the Mavericks offense was just too much for Brooklyn to handle in a 115-98 Dallas win on Saturday night.
Porzingis returns after missing three games
It’s been well-documented that this was an interesting week for Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks. All that aside, it was a good sign to see him back on the court after dealing with back issues throughout the week.
It was very clear that Porzingis and the Mavericks were focused on getting him going early and getting him conceivably easier looks against a Nets starting lineup that started 6-8 Jeff Green at center. KP looked determined to have a serious presence in the post and the results were mostly strong. He shot 7-13 from the floor and only two of those shot attempts were from deep. He was hanging out down low and it didn’t seem to have a negative impact on the efficiency of the Dallas offense.
While his final point total of 18 won’t make you jump up and down, he did only play 26 minutes as he did not play down the final stretch of the game as the score was comfortably in favor of the Mavericks. Hopefully this was a step in the direction of peace and success in the KP/Mavs relationship.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 28, 2021
Defense and energy were at 100% on Saturday night
Following the disappointing effort in Philadelphia on Thursday night, the Mavericks’ defensive effort and intensity displayed against Brooklyn was really inspiring. Right from the start, everyone was playing with determination and focus on the defensive end of the court. The Nets were able to shoot decently well in the first half, but their overall lack of talent sans Irving and Durant was just too much to overcome a second half where they score just 34 points.
The Maverick defenders were jumping in passing lanes all night long and recorded 12 steals as a team, well above their season average of just 6 per game. This led to some great transition opportunities that led to easy baskets to help Dallas stretch out their lead throughout the game.
Saturday night was just the fifth time all season that the Mavericks held their opponent under 100 points. It was the second time this week following their 102-92 win over the Grizzlies last Monday.
Game respects game
"The Mavs got a special one." – Harden on Doncic
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) February 28, 2021
Always have to take the opportunity to share another NBA all star speaks fondly of the now 22-year-old superstar in a Mavericks uniform.
Dallas will next take on the struggling Orlando Magic on Monday night at 6 PM.
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