DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks crushed the New Orleans Pelicans, 125-107, in their second-to-last regular season game at home to keep Dallas' NBA Playoffs outlook very bright.
After the victory, the Mavs' "magic number" for avoiding the NBA's play-in tournament is now at one, meaning that either a Mavs win or Lakers loss will lock Dallas into a top-six seed.
After missing seven consecutive games with right knee soreness, Kristaps Porzingis made his presence felt in a big way right away. Porzingis scored 12 of the Mavs' first 20 points and didn't stop there, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds and one steal... plus one technical foul. Porzingis' returning to the court is clutch and just in time to get a couple of tune-up games in before the NBA Playoffs begin.
“I felt good right away,” said Porzingis “I’ve been staying active with basketball stuff and shooting, making sure I’m visualizing just being out there and playing.
“Tonight was pretty good.”
With Porzingis' return, Josh Richardson came off the Mavs bench. Coach Rick Carlisle opted to start Tim Hardaway Jr., who is on a hot streak, with Dwight Powell playing next to Porzingis.
The Mavs led the Pelicans 32-30 heading into the second quarter. From there, the Mavs broke free to go on a 26-5 run... including this awesome alley-oop highlight from Luka Doncic to Willie Cauley-Stein. Dallas scored 45 points in the second quarter, the highest total in one quarter for this season.
Doncic bounced back like a man on fire from his "worst game ever played". Doncic tied a career-best 5 made 3-pointers in a single quarter during tonight's second quarter. He went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc and totaled 33 points, with eight rebounds and eight assists.
Not to be overlooked, Hardaway Jr. added 27 points.
Next up, the Mavs play their final regular season home game on Friday night vs. the Toronto Raptors. Seeding matters … but so does simply playing well.
“I remember when we were out of the (top-six) playoffs (chase) and now we’re battling for the playoff spot,” Doncic said. “I’m just happy to be there.”