Mavs Get Back On Track With 110-102 Win Over Raptors

Matt Galatzan

DALLAS - When things click for this Dallas Mavericks team, they can beat some very good teams. While that hasn't always been the case this season, Saturday night was a reminder of what they can be capable of, as the Mavs used big second halves from Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic to outlast the Toronto Raptors in a 110-102 win

Most of the 2019-2020 season has been the Luka Doncic show, and rightfully so, but Saturday night was Porzingis' turn to shine as well, and he did just that, scoring 20 points, to go along with 15 rebounds and a blocked shot. While it's true that it was not his best shooting performance, he hit the right shots when things were in doubt. 

More importantly, however, Porzingis seemed to play harder on Saturday than at any other point in his short tenure with the Mavericks. From muscling up on the boards, to diving after loose balls, and chasing down offensive rebounds, it was the kind of performance Mavs fans have been waiting to see from the Unicorn for some time now. 

“He was good," Toronto coach Nick Nurse said of Porzingis. "I thought he impacted the game; he crashed the boards, made some big shots, kind of kept them ticking over the stretch when Dončić was out. He had a good game.” 

To be fair, Luka Doncic also had yet another tremendous game, scoring 26 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists in what has become your typical Luka-type performance, as he fell just short of another triple-double while leading his team down the stretch. 

Doncic also had a career-high in free throw attempts with 19, hitting 15 in the process. 

“He’s a beast, he’s a beast on offense," Rick Carlisle said. "They’re a team that has the ability to commit to taking the best player out of the game. They did it with [Damian] Lillard, they made it really tough on Kawhi Leonard, they were really aggressive on LeBron James. We knew tonight that Luka was next in line. He did a great job of mixing in attacks that oftentimes lead to fouls and drawing two defenders away and creating a 4-on-3 playmaking opportunity for another teammate. The balance of Luka’s game was terrific tonight.”    

Dallas also got standout performances from Delon Wright, who scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting in 18 minutes off of the bench. Meanwhile, the other three members of the starting lineup all scored in double-digits, including 10 points apiece from Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith, and 15 points, six rebounds and five assists from Seth Curry. 

“I liked his game," Carlisle said of Delon Wright. You know, it certainly didn’t get the build-up that the New York game got. But look, you’re still playing your former team. He did a terrific job. He was really aggressive; anybody in the plus column in a game like this is playing their butt off. We had a lot of guys in the plus column – almost everybody – and it was great to see.”    

For the game, Dallas was able to win despite hitting just 42-percent from the field, and 23.1-percent from three, while also out-rebounding the Raptors 55-42. They also held Raptors star Pascal Siakam to just 15 points on 6-24 shooting, forcing the rest of the already short-handed Raptors, who were without point guard Kyle Lowry and big man Serge Ibaka, to pick up the slack. 

“Defense, man. Defense. Defense. Defense," Seth Curry said. "That’s what it’s about, we got a deep offense team that can do a lot of different things but we get stops like we did tonight. We had three really good defensive quarters and when we do that we can beat anybody. It’s about locking down on defense and rebounding the ball and getting out and doing what we do on offense.”    

Norman Powell and Fred Vanvleet did their best to keep the Raptors in it, combining for 50 points between them, but it was not enough to outscore the Mavs down in the final frame.

Dallas will attempt to keep their winning ways alive during this long homestand when DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and the San Antonio Spurs come to Dallas for the first matchup of the season between the two division rivals.  

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