CHICAGO – Kristaps Porzingis received a nice reward for his spectacular performances in four games last week.
On Monday the NBA announced that Porzingis was the Western Conference Player of the Week after he took his game to another level. The Mavericks’ center averaged 26.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks last week while making headlines for accomplishing something no other player has done.
“When you put in a lot of work during a long period of time, you don’t see maybe the rewards right away,” Porzingis said. “As a team we’ve been playing good.
“But individually when you finally get more of a rhythm and start playing better, little things like this give you some extra motivation to keep working and to keep grinding.”
This is the second time in his five-year career that Porzingis has captured this weekly award. As a member of the New York Knicks, he was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 5, 2017.
Porzingis, who sat out 20 months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Feb.6, 2018, didn’t remember receiving the award back then, saying: “I thought this was actually the first one I ever had.”
While Porzingis has had numerous solid games this season, the one he produced Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves was one for the ages. The 24-year old finished with 38 points – two shy of his career high – 13 rebounds, five blocks and six 3-pointers.
Thus, Porzingis, who signed a five-year, $158-million contract with the Mavs last summer, is the only player in NBA history to finish a game with such a gaudy stat line.
“He just had a great week from start to finish,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He did what he does, which is score. He scored the ball, he defended the rim and he rebounded, and he just had a terrific week.
“I think it’s a real validation of the work that he’s put in, not only the last few months of this season, but the previous 18 months leading into this season. So, it’s great to see. His game (Sunday) was just spectacular.”
Porzingis said part of the reason his game has evolved is that his relationship with the Mavs’ other superstar – All-Star point guard Luka Doncic – is rounding into shape.
“We’re clicking more and more as time goes on and he’s getting a feel for me and I’m getting a feel for him,” Porzingis said. “I think the last 20-30 games, I think we kind of got a better feel for each other and in time it’s only going to get better.
“I think it’s also just developing our relationship off the court — which is also important — and then on the court, too. For us, it’s a matter of time. We’re both young, we both have a lot in common and our relationship is getting better by the day and I think it’s already showing on the court. But it’s going to show more in the future.”
Briefly: The Mavs’ Wednesday’s home game at American Airlines Center against rookie Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will start at 8:30 p.m. and be televised nationally on ESPN. The game also will be televised on FSSW. . .The game against the Pelicans is the opener of a three-game home stand. The Mavs also will see the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday and the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.