When he was able to chop up and analyze how Kristaps Porzingis dominated the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, Jason Kidd came up with an easy answer.
“I think KP let the ball come to him,” the Dallas Mavericks coach said. “He didn’t force anything.
“If they didn’t double, he went to score. And if they did (double), he found the open guy. I thought his rhythm in the game was great from start to finish, and then on the defensive end he was big.”
Porzingis wound up scoring a season-high 34 points. That’s the most points scored by any Maverick this season, surpassing the 33 points Luka Doncic scored in a win against the Boston Celtics on Nov. 6 and during a loss against the Washington Wizards on Nov. 27.
Here are our five takeaways from Monday’s 132-117 win over the Blazers.
PORZINGIS INSIDE AND OUT: Not only did Kristaps Porzingis take advantage of the much shorter Blazers by repeatedly punishing them with a steadily diet of post-up baskets. He also was able to re-discover his accuracy from the three-point stripe. Porzingis maneuvered his way around the court for a season-high 34 points on 12-of-21 shooting. That includes several low post baskets and a few dunks. But Porzingis also was 3-of-7 from the three-point line after entering the game with just 1-of-14 shooting from downtown in his previous three games. In addition, he collected nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.
POWELL’S POWER SURGE: Dwight Powell had one of those games to remember. Not only did the eight-year veteran finish with a season-high 22 points in just 24 minutes. But he also was a very efficient 9-of-11 from the field as he kept finding cracks in the Blazers’ defense and kept making them pay. Powell got the Mavs off to an early 19-10 lead by scoring 11 points. But he had to go to the bench late in the first quarter with two fouls. In fact, if not for the foul problems Powell found himself mired in all night, he may have been in line to eclipse the 30-point barrier the way he started this game. By halftime, Powell already had 15 points, which was his previous high for the season.
OH, WHAT A (K)NIGHT: Brandon Knight wants to be back in the NBA so badly he can taste it. And sterling performances like the one he put on Monday night will certainly help him get back to his dream job. In 24 minutes off the bench, Knight tallied 18 points, distributed five assists and looked like the player who was the No. 8 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. Knight was 6-of-12 from the floor and displayed a lot of zeal in executing the Mavs’ offense. Signed last week to a 10-day contract under the COVID-related hardship allowance, Knight was playing in the G League after basically being out of the NBA for almost two years before he got the call from the Mavs. After what he did Monday, he looks like a keeper.
GREEN’S COMING OUT PARTY: The celebrations surrounding New Year’s Eve are a few days away, but that didn’t stop Josh Green from having his personal coming-out party. Not only did the second-year veteran put on one whale of a show for the folks at Moda Center. But it was even more impressive considering this was Green’s first game after he spent four games in the health and safety protocols. In 24 minutes, Green scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds, handed out a career-high 10 assists and picked up a pair of steals. And some of Green’s assists were straight from the playbook of Jason Kidd and Luka Doncic. More importantly, Green had a total of just eight assists on the season entering Monday’s game.
PAINT POINTS: The way this game started, it was clear that the Mavs were going to have a field day scoring inside the paint. It was as if the doors to the basket were wide open for the Mavs, because the Blazers offered very little resistance. By halftime the Mavs had outscored Portland in the paint by a ridiculous 34-8 margin. By the time this game was history, the Mavs had outscored the Blazers in paint points, 68-30. Overall, the Mavs made 34 field goals in 46 attempts inside the paint for an incredible 73.9 percent. Many of those points were dunks or just plain ‘ol uncontested layups, as Portland’s defense all but took the night off.
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