On Monday night, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-122 in their first game in front of fans this season. Approximately 1,500 vaccinated people attended the game in the American Airlines Center.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle remarked, “It helps bring back a little bit of normalcy… which is greatly welcome.”
And on Tuesday, as the Mavs prepared for the next opportunity at normalcy, a 6:30 Wednesday visit from Atlanta?
"Critical,'' Rick said. "The way this season started and has gone has put us up against it. Every game is critical."
The Mavericks secured an early 25-point lead, yet had a difficult fourth quarter leading to a narrow victory by five points. Kristaps Porzingis had a big game on both ends of the floor, scoring 27 points, 13 rebounds, and six blocks.
Some more help came from Luka Doncic, who started slow, finishing with 26 points (14 in the fourth quarter), and Tim Hardaway Jr. who added 24 points off the bench.
Following a six-game losing streak, the Mavs have now bounced back, winning their second straight game at home.
Now let's hear Mavs talk:
Carlisle on Porzingis being awarded the Defensive Player of the Game belt:
"It's clear that as each game goes on, everything is getting better and more the way he [Porzingis] wants it and we want it."
Porzingis on Doncic’s slower statistical game before Q4:
"He's doing so much more than just scoring, and we love it when he's passing the ball and getting everybody involved."
Doncic on the Mavs' clutch performance:
"Right now, it doesn't matter. Just that we got a win."
Maxi Kleber on coming back from COVID-19:
“I’ve got to be honest: Coming back from that, and when you’re sitting at home for more than 20 days, it really hurts the first couple of practices. The games, your legs are heavy. You feel slow. I still feel slow.”
Hardaway Jr. on having fans back:
“It was amazing,” said Hardaway. "The atmosphere was obviously better. You just hear crickets when there’s nobody in there.”
The Mavericks (11-14) will stay home to face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at 6:30 CT in a game that is, yes, "critical.''