Coming off a third consecutive loss after Sunday afternoon's matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, with Luka Doncic still in street clothes as he nurses his injuries, the Dallas Mavericks can't find a win without their superstar.
The slide, though frustrating, is understandable, especially when you realize this Mavs roster is constructed to be engineered by Doncic.
But even losses reveal vital information. And Kristaps Porzingis is showing himself to be just that - "vital.''
Sunday's game showcased Porzingis as a go-to player in the fourth quarter.
Though Porzingis laid a goose egg from behind the arc (going 0 of 4), Dallas found life in the fourth quarter due to his - wait for it - post-up game. On two possessions late in the fourth, Porzingis showed confidence backing down his opponent.
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Despite what you think of back-to-the-basket approach to basketball, it's remained a hot topic, especially surrounding the Porzingis discourse. Turner sports "analysts" spend every game the Mavericks play on TNT discussing why it's important for the 7-3 forward/center to stop camping at the three-point line.
Porzingis as a multi-purpose offensive weapon might do wonders for Dallas when Doncic returns from injury. (Hopefully as soon at Tuesday when the Mavs are again at the Clippers).
Does Porzingis behind the three-point line open room for Doncic to create Partially true, but on nights where Doncic isn't at his MVP-best, Luka and the Mavs need a backup plan. Dallas executing on mismatches, which come often to Porzingis in the post, can bode well for the Mavericks down the line.
Following the last three games, Porzingis is averaging 23 points on 59.9 true-shooting, and five free-throw attempts per contest.
Participation trophies don't exist in the NBA. But silver linings sometimes do. Porzingis finding his stride during a difficult stretch could possibly unlock another gear for the playoff-hungry Mavericks - and be that silver lining.