MEMPHIS — Although what Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were able to accomplish Friday night against the New York Knicks didn’t come wrapped in a victory, coach Rick Carlisle was nonetheless pleased with the duo’s performance.
On Friday, Doncic scored a career-high 38 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, distributed 10 assists and was 13-of-26 from the field in registering his fourth triple-double of the season. Porzingis added 28 points, nine boards and five blocks and was 11-of-22 from the floor.
“They’re doing great,” Carlisle said. “We see progress every game in terms of their chemistry together and the chemistry with the group.
“Last night I thought from a balance standpoint, it was KP’s best game just in terms of going with the flow with his teammates, so that was great to see.”
Incidently, Porzingis (injury recovery/left knee) did not play in Saturday’s game at Memphis. It was the first time the Mavs have had a back-to-back situation this season.
LOAD MANAGEMENT: Coach Rick Carlisle was asked about “load management” prior to Saturday’s game, and he responded by saying: “I hear a lot from you (media) guys about it. Our fans haven’t said anything about it to me, but it’s a serious topic.
“We take it very seriously. We’re constantly evaluating how we’re working our players, how we’re resting our players and how we’re playing our players.”
Asked if they rested players a lot when he played, but they just didn’t have a fancy phrase for it, Carlisle drew laughter when he said: “They rested me a lot.
“(Load management is) a term that all of a sudden recently has just kind of been worn out. That’s all you hear.
“And it shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. It should be viewed as something that this league is very conscientious about the health of the players.”
CARLISLE TALKING NOWITZKI, MILLER: Before the game against Memphis, coach Rick Carlisle was reminiscing to the days when he coached not only former Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki, but also former Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller.
“I had the privilege over an 11-year period to have a guy (in Nowitzki) that’s such a constant, just in terms of everything he does, how he approaches preparation, how he approaches game situations, how he’s so giving of his teammates and the franchise and those kinds of things,” Carlisle said. “I’ve had two very, very special players in my coaching career — Dirk is one and Reggie Miller was the other one in Indiana.
“I was with (the Pacers) for three years as an assistant and a couple more years as a head coach. They’re both old school guys, very detailed in their rituals. They set an amazing tone for consistency every single day, and that’s why Reggie’s in the Hall of Fame and that’s why Dirk will be in three years.”
CROWDER GIVES GRIZZLIES VETERAN LEADERSHIP: When he played for the Mavs, Jae Crowder was always one of coach Rick Carlisle’s favorite players. But now, Crowder plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.
“He gives them a lot of things, and I think that’s always been his calling card,” Carlisle said. “He plays an all-around game, he’s energetic, he’s a 3-point shooter, he’s a driver, he’s a basketball player, he’s a multiple position player, he’s a winner.”
Crowder was the 34th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by Cleveland, and the Mavs subsequently acquired him in a draft day trade with the Cavaliers. Crowder played two seasons for the Mavs and has since played for Boston, Cleveland and Utah before he was traded to the Grizzlies on July 6 in a deal that sent Mike Conley Jr. to the Jazz.
“It seems like yesterday when he was a rookie with us back in ‘12-‘13, but now he’s in his sixth or seventh year and he’s a seasoned NBA veteran,” Carlisle said. “He’s a great kind of the youngest veteran guy for them to have him as they’re building this thing up.
“He’s done a great job wherever he’s been.”