Entering Sunday’s 111-99 loss to the Sacramento Kings, guard Trey Burke had been very impactful for the Dallas Mavericks over the past week.
That includes scoring seven critical points while playing only in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 125-124 nail-biter of a win over the Washington Wizards.
So how was Burke able to sit for the entire game against the Wizards, then come off the bench and play the entire fourth quarter and suddenly become a major factor in the game?
“It’s just a professional being ready, keeping himself ready, keeping himself mentally into it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to have him back on our team.
“Not only is he a good player, but he proved in the bubble (in Orlando last summer) that he was a good player that was always ready for action. That he would always go into the game bringing energy, bringing a decisive skill with his ability to score.”
And that’s not all that Burke proved.
After scoring 19 points against the Kings last Monday on 8-of-14 shots, Burke played impressive defense against Golden State’s Stephen Curry on Tuesday. He followed that up by scoring 15 points on 5-of-8 shots during Thursday’s win over the Detroit Pistons.
Then came the game against the Wizards.
“He’s going to give you the effort defensively, and his quickness can be a very positive factor defensively as well,” Carlisle said. “I thought his contribution in the fourth (quarter against the Wizards) was as timely a contribution as we’ve had all year.”
Burke acknowledged that the key to being able to contribute while coming off the bench stone-cold is to stay mentally engaged in the game.
“That’s the biggest thing for me is just never checking out mentally and knowing that there’s always an opportunity for me to go in the game,” said Burke, who scored seven points in 17 minutes on Sunday. “My ability to get buckets quick, I know coach looks at that as valuable.
“Sometimes he feels like he can throw me in and I can be a spark like I was (Saturday).”
For the Mavs, they know it’s a luxury to have a player like Burke who they can turn to when they’re mired in a difficult situation.
“Hey look, he’s done it a few times in the last week,” Carlisle said. “You go back to the Golden State game — the game at Sacramento (last Monday) he gave us a lift there.
“It just shows that we need everybody, and we need everybody to be ready.”
And with just eight games remaining in the regular season, Burke knows it will be a dogfight for the Mavs to secure the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. But he’s more than ready to be in position to help contribute to the cause whenever his number is called.
““Nothing’s set in stone,” Burke said. “We’ve still got to finish some business.
“We’ve got to finish what we’ve already started and just keep getting better and keep growing each and every game. We know that all of these games are important. No game is more important than the other with what we’ve fighting for.”
Mavs Ball on Saturday: The Mavs will host the 6th annual Mavs Ball on Saturday from 7-9 p.m.
The cocktail reception is from 7-7:30 p.m., the program is from 7:30-8:30 p.m., and the after party is from 8:30-9 p.m.
Guests will be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind evening from the comforts of their home because this year’s event will be held virtually for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fans will be able to enjoy virtual appearances by Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and the entire Mavs’ team.
Owner Mark Cuban, chief executive officer Cynt Marshall and coach Rick Carlisle will also make virtual appearances.
In addition, an online auction will be held from Monday-Saturday where fans can bid on exclusive items.
The prestigious Mavs Ball, presented by AT&T, will benefit the Mavs Foundation.
Tickets can be purchased for as low as $125. There’s also a date night package for $500 and a house party package that costs $2,500. For more information go to mavs.com/mavs.ball.