'I Feel Amazing': Award-Winner Luka Doncic Overpowers Pelicans; Mavs Sweep 3-Game Road Trip
The final game of a road trip can be tricky sometimes, and in this particular case, a potential hangover from the Dallas Mavericks beating the league-leading Los Angeles Lakers at their place could have played a part in Tuesday night's game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Despite a sluggish start, though, the Mavs powered through the Pelicans, winning 118-97 and sweeping their 3-game road trip. The last time Dallas started a season with a road record of at least 8-2, the city ended up enjoying a championship parade the following summer. That's not to say we're predicting a championship this year, but it helps puts things into perspective. The Mavs are finally good again, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
Luka Doncic was magnificent again in this one, recording an incredible 33-point, 18-rebound (a career-best) double-double to go along with five assists in just three quarters and 28 minutes on the court. ... doing it all on the day be became the youngest NBA West Player of the Month in league history.
“I feel amazing,” said Doncic about the honor. “The team congratulated me. I was happy to win that and happy for my teammates and my coaches. And I told them it wouldn’t have been possible without them, for sure.”
As he always does, the unselfish Doncic posted his impressive stat line in style, and in the national spotlight on TNT, while shooting 9-18 from the field, 5-12 from deep and 10-13 from the free-throw line.
Brandon Ingram, who figures to be a strong candidate for the 'Most Improved Player' award this year, led the Pelicans with 24 points, five rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes.
After taking a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter, Seth Curry and the rest of the Mavs' bench made sure Doncic didn't have to play another minute with the Minnesota Timberwolves waiting for the Mavs on the second night of a back-to-back tomorrow. Curry scorched the nets in New Orleans, pouring in 19 points off the bench in 27 minutes, and hitting 5-7 from three. Curry was also a team-high plus-32 in this one as well.
Kristaps Porzingis had another tough shooting night, as he only posted seven points, six rebounds and shot 2-11 from the field in 18 minutes. Although Porzingis was in foul trouble for most of the first half, he came out of the gates blocking everything in sight and setting the tone for the Mavs on the defensive end of the court. Porzingis ended up with five blocks, matching his total from the last time the Mavs played in New Orleans on October 25th.
Although the Mavs have hinted at resting Porzingis on the back end of back-to-backs, one has to wonder if the extremely low amount of minutes tonight will change that strategy for tomorrow night.
The Timberwolves are bringing their 10-9 record with them to American Airlines Center, which is good for seventh in the West as things currently sit. Karl-Anthony Towns figures to be a handful for the Mavs, as he's averaging 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and shooting 42-percent from deep on nine attempts per game. The Mavs will be looking for their ninth win in their last 10 games.
“We’re playing really well right now, especially defensively,” Porzingis said. “Offensively, I was struggling a little bit, (but) my teammates got my back, and that’s it. ... We’re on a roll right now, we’re playing well and we want to keep it going.”