1. COACH’S CHALLENGE: The NBA’s new coach’s challenge rule had an impact on Sunday’s game. With the Mavs down by one point, Blazers guard Damian Lillard was whistled for a foul against Mavs forward with 8.4 seconds left in the game. But Blazers coach Terry Stotts challenged the call, it was overturned after a replay and a jump ball was ordered. Portland won the jump ball, Kent Bazemore was fouled and split two free throws, and Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a long 3-point shot at the buzzer. Referee crew chief Courtney Kirkland told a pool reporter of the critical play in question that: “Once Portland challenged the play and we were able to go and look at replay, we were able to have clear, conclusive evidence that Damian Lillard legally deflected the ball from Dorian Finney-Smith. Once the ball was legally deflected, the ball was loose when the whistle blew, which led to an inadvertent whistle. Therefore, we ended up having a jump ball at center circle between any two players.”
2. PORZINGIS SOLID ALL AROUND: Forward Kristaps Porzingis pieced together one of those outings that he’ll probably never forget. The four-year veteran poured in 32 points, grabbed nine boards, handed out a career-high five assists and blocked two shots. It was the 15th 30-point game of Porzingis’ career and his first since December of 2017 when he was a member of the New York Knicks. Porzingis converted 11 of his 23 field goal attempts and also was 3-of-10 from 3-point territory and 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. After scoring seven points and snatching five rebounds in the first quarter, Porzingis contributed 11 points in the second quarter when he made three of his four attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. The 7-3, 240-pounder added four more points in the third quarter and an additional 10 points in the fourth quarter. Porzingis’ previous career-high was four assists on six different occasions.
3. NEARLY ANOTHER TRIPLE-DOUBLE FOR DONCIC: Luka Doncic nearly produced a triple-double for the second consecutive game. The second-year point guard finished Sunday’s contest with 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and added three steals. This came after Friday’s show-stopping performance in New Orleans when Doncic manufactured his ninth career triple-double with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists during a 123-116 triumph over the Pelicans. Against the Blazers, Doncic was 8-of-22 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free throw line. This is the third time in as many games this season that Doncic has scored at least 25 points. He opened the season with a 34-point performance during a 108-100 victory over the Washington Wizards.
4. DOUBLE TROUBLE: Doncic and Porzingis have proven to be deep trouble for opposing teams as they now have each scored at least 20 points in the season’s first three games. The only other Mavs duo to accomplish that feat were Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn, who opened the 1994-’95 season by each scoring at least 20 points in five straight games. Doncic opened the season with 34 points against Washington, then added 25 against New Orleans and 29 against Portland. Porzingis tallied 23 points against Washington, 24 against New Orleans and 32 against Portland.
5. INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Any player or coach will tell you that if they finish the game with 119 points, they like their chances of winning. Needless to say, that wasn’t enough points for the Mavs during Sunday’s game against the Blazers, and for numerous reasons. The Mavs went to the free throw line 41 times, but only made 32 of them, while Portland was 22-of-26 from the charity stripe. The Blazers shot 51.7 percent from the field to just 39.4 percent from the floor for the Mavs. Also, while Portland converted nine of 22 attempts from the 3-point line for 40.9 percent, the Mavs made just 13 of their 50 shots from behind the 3-point stripe for 26 percent. The Mavs were 24-of-44 from two-point range for a solid 54.5 percent. They also held their own on the boards, only losing the rebounding battle by 48-46. Elsewhere, the Mavs gave themselves a chance by turning the ball over only 11 times to 16 for Portland.