5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 110-107 LOSS TO THE CLIPPERS
POWELL’S INJURY: Dwight Powell was having one of the best seasons of his six-year career when disaster struck. The highly energetic and athletic center/forward suffered a right Achilles injury Tuesday during a simple non-contact play late in the first quarter. Powell is set to have an MRI today, and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is fearing the worst. Carlisle said: “It’s feared to be severe, but we won’t know for sure until a diagnostic test is done. It doesn’t get much tougher than this if it ends up being what we fear it might be, but he will be back, regardless.”
PORZINGIS RETURNS: Kristaps Porzingis returned Tuesday after missing 10 games with right knee soreness, and the expected rust played a role in the game he had against the Clippers. In 27 minutes, Porzingis scored 10 points and collected nine rebounds. But he was only 4-of-17 from the field and just 1-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. “I’m 4-for-17 and coach takes me out and I’m just like, ‘Damn, I would’ve made the next one for sure,’ “ Porzingis said. “That’s just kind of how my mind works, and I’m going to keep that mindset.” Carlisle said postgame that he was confident Porzingis would find his normal rhythm quickly, based on how well he returned at the start of this season after missing 20 months with his knee injury.
NO ANSWER FOR LEONARD: In his usual methodical way, Kawhi Leonard got to his spots on the floor and put together a very solid game. The Most Valuable Player in last year’s NBA Finals, Leonard filled up the stat sheet with 36 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists in 36 minutes. The nine-year veteran was 12-of-29 from the field, but only 1-of-9 from 3-point territory. And he was particularly lethal in the second half when he scored 11 points in the third quarter and an additional 11 points in the fourth quarter.
SECOND-QUARTER WOES: It was the Mavs’ (lack of) production in the second quarter that ultimately did them in on Tuesday. The Mavs rebounded from an 0-of-11 shooting to end the first quarter tied at 24-24. And they outscored the Clippers in both the third (29-22) and fourth quarter (29-28). But in the second quarter, the Clippers outscored the Mavs, 36-25. Breaking it down even more, the Mavs committed 12 fouls in the second quarter to just four for LA. That led to the Clippers outscoring the Mavs at the free throw line, 14-3, in the second quarter.
ANOTHER HOME LOSS: We all understand the value of having homecourt advantage in the playoffs. But with the way things are trending for the Mavs, not having homecourt advantage may not hurt them at all. The Mavs are now 13-11 at home and 14-5 on the road. With Tuesday’s loss, the Mavs are 0-5 at home this season against Western Conference teams that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today. That includes a loss to the Denver Nuggets, and two losses apiece to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Utah, Houston, Memphis and Oklahoma City have yet to visit AAC this season.