At the most critical point in the season, the Dallas Mavericks seem to have found their stride.
Led by the star pairing of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis on Friday night, the Mavs took down the New Orleans Pelicans, 143-130, to win their fourth straight contest, and bring themselves one step closer to .500.
"The chemistry,'' coach Rick Carlisle said, "was tremendous. It was great stuff to watch. We’re sharing the ball better. We’re moving it better. We’re playing a more selfless brand of basketball, which has been great to see.”
Trailing 34-27 at the end of the first quarter, Dallas quickly recovered in the second, outscoring the Pelicans 42-31, and taking a four-point lead into the locker room.
Dallas would go on to win the final two quarters as well, holding off a 36-point barrage from second-year sensation Zion Williamson, who finished 14-of-15 from the field for the night.
Brandon Ingram did his best to support Williamson, scoring 30 points of his own, while point guard Eric Bledsoe added 16 as well.
Dallas's answer was too much to overcome, however, as Doncic and Porzingis combined to score 82 points, as Dallas shot 57-percent from the field and 54-percent from beyond the arc on their way to overwhelming the New Orleans defense.
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Doncic, who ended the game with a career-high 46 points, also handed out 12 assists and snagged eight rebounds, while hitting 17-of-30 from the field, and 5-of-8 from three.
Complementing Doncic was Porzingis' 36-point outing season-high in itself, with the Latvian hitting 13-of-21 from the floor, and grabbing seven rebounds.
Said KP: “Tonight was one of those games where things were clicking for both of us. It gives both of us energy and builds momentum for both of us and the team when we get going like that. It just felt easy and natural.
"Not every game is going to be like that. But I believe we’re on the right path and we’re going to keep working on that chemistry.”
Three other Mavs also finished in double-figures, including Dorian Finney-Smith with 14 points, Josh Richardson with 11 points, and Jalen Brunson with 13 points off of the bench.
Dallas (13-14) will attempt to make it five in a row when they welcome the Portland Trailblazers (14-10) to the American Airlines Center on Sunday night in what will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
Portland currently sits at the fifth spot in the Western Conference, led by Damian Lillard's 29.4 points per game, a challenge to what Luka and KP and company are doing. Can it continue?
“We got rolling,” Doncic said. “That’s four in a row. We get paid to win the games, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’ve just got to keep going like this.”