Aching, Injury-Riddled Mavs Still Lack Consistency After Uneven Homestand
DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks put a capper on their six-game homestand Saturday night with an impressive 109-91 win against the Philadelphia 76ers. (See Mavs Monday Donuts here.)
It was a feel-good ending to a largely disappointing 3-3 homestand that saw the Mavs squander multiple late leads and get dominated by the Lakers on national TV.
"It's a great way to end the homestand," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We would have loved to have won another game or two for sure, but we are where we are."
After winning 16 of their first 22 games, Dallas has hit a skid, going 8-9 in their last 17. There are many factors that play into that, but none are more relevant than the injuries they have suffered.
Every coach will relay the "next-man-up" cliché to his players and the media, but in many cases, there is only so much to be done. The Mavericks have this season been without Luka Doncic for five games, Tim Hardaway Jr. for four, and Kristaps Porzingis for seven over the last month. That's a lot of firepower to have on the shelf.
KP's absence, in particular, was felt during the homestand.
The Mavericks gave up 72 paint points to the 28th-worst offense in basketball in the Chicago Bulls. They gave away a 12-point lead against Charlotte largely because they were out-rebounded 53-41. LeBron James and the Lakers were practically running layup lines in their recent blowout of the KP-less Mavericks.
These are issues Carlisle, Luka, and Co. know they need to get corrected regardless of their injuries. They hope Saturday night’s game was the start of that.
"We needed it a lot, we needed it badly," Luka said of the second-half performance against Philly. "They are one of the top teams in the East and we showed we can play against anybody, we just need to do it constantly."
Help might be on the way with Porzingis getting closer and closer to making a return. Going into Monday, according to Carlisle, either of the next two games (at the Warriors on Tuesday or at the Kings on Wednesday) are a "possibility." But an update from Rick has KP dealing with an illness that might extend his absence.
Regardless, the Mavericks know they need to find some semblance of consistency, with or without their full complement of guys.
The 24-15 Mavs will try to do that when they hit the road this week ... an attempt to make some of the aches go away.