The Mavericks have won consecutive games for the first time since mid-November after their 120-96 blowout win over the COVID-19 depleted Charlotte Hornets.
At this point in the season, it doesn’t matter who you beat. Wins are priceless.
The Mavericks got back above. 500 at 14-13 and have a nationally televised game coming up against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday (6:30 p.m. tipoff).
Here’s our second-chance points from one of the most complete games the Mavericks have played this season.
BLOCK PARTY: Kristaps Porzingis had 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. It was the fourth time any Maverick has put those numbers on the board in a single game. Porzingis has done it three times. Dirk Nowitzki did it once. And one of Porzingis’ blocks was on Miles Bridges, who has been known to posterize some defenders who try to get in his way on rim attacks. Porzingis was well aware of that. “For a half second, I was in the air (thinking) this could go really bad,” he said. “If I jumped late, it probably would have been (potentially embarrassing). As a shot-blocker, sometimes you’re going to get dunked on, but you have to jump. You’re not going to give up anything easy. You’re going to be on some highlight reels, but that cannot stop you from jumping the next time.” In addition, Porzingis had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks in the first half. Since he came into the league in 2015-16, only he, Clint Capela and Anthony Davis have had 20-10-3 in one half.
DFS HAS 12 FINE MINUTES: Dorian Finney-Smith is in his sixth season and already has surpassed any reasonable career expectations for a player who went undrafted. But in 340 previous games, Finney-Smith had never had a quarter like he did in the third period against the Hornets. His 13 points were the most he’s ever scored in a quarter. And he kept the Mavericks free and clear when the rest of the offense got a little chilly. “The ball was finding me,” he said. “When it’s moving, eventually, it’s going to find you.” Finney-Smith has been one of the most consistent Mavericks this season and he remains one of the NBA’s best bargains at the team-friendly salary of $4 million. But he’ll command more salary this summer.
STRONG NUMBERS: When they raced out of the gate with the game’s first 10 points, the Mavericks were off and running and won for the first time this season in wire-to-wire fashion. They also won their first home game since Nov. 15 (Denver) after having lost five in a row. There are only three more home games this month (Lakers, Wolves, Bucks). If the Mavericks don’t go at least 2-1 (3-0 would be preferable), then they are putting themselves behind the 8-ball heading into 2022.
DON’T GET ANY CRAZY IDEAS: Yes, the Mavericks won both ends of this back-to-back set – without Luka Dončić both games because of a sore left foot. No, that doesn’t mean they are capable of surviving long term without their superstar point guard. Should Dončić remain out and get his feet as close to 100 percent as possible before returning? Absolutely. But make no mistake that the Mavericks need him back as soon as possible because the schedule is going to be a lot harder in the rest of December.
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