Doncic, Porzingis and the High-Powered Mavs Offense Out-Gun Blazers in Portland, 133-125
On the night Luka Doncic was officially named a starter in the NBA All-Star game, fireworks were on display at the Moda Center in Portland, as the Dallas Mavericks outlasted the Trail Blazers, 133-125.
Led by Doncic, who finished the night with 27 points, six rebounds and nine assists, the Mavs scored early and often, tying a season-high by scoring 78 points in the first half. The Mavs shot 51.6 percent from the field overall and 46.8 percent from three.
"It was amazing,'' Luka said of the All-Star tab. "I used to dream as a kid just to be in the NBA ...''
This was the sixth time this season that Dallas has made at least 20 threes in a game. For context, the Mavs had only accomplished such a feat three times in franchise history before this season.
After coming off a rusty 4-of-17 shooting performance in his last game, Kristaps Porzingis bounced back in a big way by scoring 20 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from deep. Porzingis also grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots. With Dwight Powell out for the rest of the season with an Achilles rupture, the Mavs will need Porzingis to continue to step up his game like he did tonight to ensure that the team doesn't skip a beat in its playoff pursuit. (The Mavs will also be chasing ideas at the NBA trade deadline; the latest on that here and here.)
Seven Mavericks scored in double-figures in this one, but the most encouraging performance, aside from Doncic and Porzingis, was that of Jalen Brunson. Brunson poured in 17 points off the bench while going 4-of-5 from deep. For a guy who is shooting 15 percent from three in the month of January, it was a welcome sight to see Brunson step into his shots without hesitation and confidently knock them down.
“I was proud of our guys and the way they adjusted to our situation,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We have a new reality without Dwight. And it’s going to require a real togetherness and a real persistence and a real understanding of who we have to be, and that’s an attacking team that’s skilled. Defensively we have to do it collectively.”
Despite Damian Lillard putting on a masterful offensive performance by scoring 47 points (which followed his 61-point outing on MLK Day against the Warriors) on 16-of-28 shooting from the field and 8-of-15 from three, the depleted Blazers (now 19-27) still didn't have enough to keep up with the Mavs' historically-efficient, high-powered offense.
The Mavs (28-16) will now turn their attention to a 4 p.m. Saturday matinee game on the road with the surging Utah Jazz, who are currently in second place in the Western Conference standings and have won nine of their last 10 games. This will be the first time the two teams have met this season. Utah is 17-3 at home, while Dallas is 15-5 on the road.
“For us, we know we’re going to score,'' KP said. "It’s more about getting stops. We have so many weapons. It’s more about us not just exchanging baskets ... We got to be the type of team that just steps on the opposite team’s throat. We’re getting there. We’re going to keep working and try to be a great team at that.”