Luka and KP Play Nice Together as Mavs blast Kings, 130-111
DALLAS - Luka Doncic was in All-Star Game form after his return from an ankle injury Wednesday night against Sacramento. But he wasn’t the only member of the Dallas Mavericks who went off in the Mavs’ 130-111 victory over the Kings.
Playing together for the first time since Jan. 28, Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis each had a double-double as the Mavericks (33-22) rode a head of steam into the All-Star Break. But could that ‘head of steam’ been even better? Our Mike Fisher wrote about Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s desire to make a couple of ‘really big’ trades before the deadline, but they fell through.
Before the game Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle told the media that Doncic would play in both Friday’s Rising Stars Game and Sunday’s All-Star Game, in which he will play with Team LeBron. But Carlisle was positively beaming after watching his ‘Wundercorn’ unleash hell on the Kings.
Or at least as much as Carlisle allows himself to beam.
Carlisle also said that Sacramento’s last-minute lineup change actually helped the Mavericks.
“It was really good that (Sacramento) went small because it forced us into an aggressive playmaking mode on offense and communicating mode on defense and it really helped connect us tonight,” Carlisle said. “So, we were fortunate there.''
Doncic, who missed seven games with an ankle injury, got off to a hot start and just kept rolling, finishing with 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. Along the way, he hit a couple of absurd shots and had a third negated due to a foul called on the floor. The first circus shot, frankly, didn’t seem real at all.
Meanwhile, Porzingis finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists, along with a thunderous dunk that, frankly, brought the American Airlines Center crowd to its feet.
After the game, Porzingis had a smile on his face at the mention of the dunk. Communication was actually key on that as a similar dunk hadn’t fared as well earlier this season.
It was all that more from the Mavs, as Tim Hardaway Jr. (19) and Seth Curry (18) both hit double figures as the Mavs shot 56.5 percent from the field and played the second half of the game unthreatened by Sacramento (21-33), which was led by Buddy Hield with 22 off the bench.
As first-half-of-the-season finales went, it was about as picture-perfect as the Mavs could have asked for.
Before the game, Doncic returned just in time to receive the La Gazzetta Dello Sport European Player of the Year Award, with which he was presented before the game.
Carlisle also said that we wouldn’t see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist until after the All-Star Break. Kidd-Gilchrist was in the locker room after the game but gets another nine days to rest and get acclimated to the Mavericks before the team faces Orlando on the road Feb. 21.
Said Rick: "I thought Luka played great. I thought Porzingis played great. I thought they played great together. And, you know, it’s been a while since they played together. So this is a nice way to go into the (All-Star) break.”