After riding the high that came along with snapping the Memphis Grizzlies' 11-game win streak on Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks came into Saturday night's second night of a back-to-back looking to take care of business against a lowly Orlando Magic team.
Despite the quality of play not being the prettiest at times throughout the night, Dallas was able to keep its winning ways going with a 108-92 win over former Mavs assistant coach Jamahl Mosley at American Airlines Center. The Mavs are now 24-19 on the season. Dallas has only been five games over .500 one other time this season, and that was way back on November 15.
In what was a respectable group effort, the Mavs were led by the trio of Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson and Kristaps Porzingis, who made his return to action after missing seven games due to being in the NBA's health and safety protocols. It was only the fifth time this season that those three players have been able to suit up together.
After taking over in the second half against Memphis the night before, Doncic finished the tonight's game with 23 points and nine rebounds while shooting 7-of-19 from the field. Surprisingly, Doncic only dished out three assists.
Brunson, who has been in his fair share of NBA trade rumors lately, torched the Magic by putting up 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 28 minutes of play. Brunson also added five assists, three rebounds and two steals.
“We are just playing together,” said Brunson. “I think we are clicking. It has been a little bit of a weird year, but we are clicking at the right time.
“We just have to keep it going and can’t be satisfied with what we have been able to do these past couple of weeks. We just have to keep pushing the same way we have been.”
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Although Porzingis was out for an extended period of time, he didn't show many signs of rust, as he scored 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line. Porzingis' presence on the defensive end was much greater than his mere one block and one steal would suggest. A healthy Porzingis could take this Mavs team to another level over the rest of this regular season.
“I felt good,” said Porzingis. “The first play post-up made me comfortable right off the bat. … I was just kind of playing my game and finding some easy ones, like the close midrange. I knocked those down and it was a pretty good game.”
Although Porzingis hasn't been on the floor for most of the Mavs’ recent turnaround, he was on the money back on December 7 when he predicted the brighter days ahead.
"Around Christmas time, after Christmas is really when we're going to take off," said Porzingis after a 102-99 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Maybe KP can channel some of his good fortune-telling toward the Dallas Cowboys’ big playoff game on Sunday.
Next up, the Mavs will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in what will be the second game of this five-game home stand on Monday night. The Mavs are 2-0 against the Thunder this season, having held them under 90 points in both games.