"Value'' is sometimes about psychology.
Is a signed Luka Doncic trading card really worth an all-time-high of $4.6 million? The person who just wrote that check believes so.
Is Kristaps Porzingis really worth the Dallas Mavericks' "love''? He is when he participates in a Mavs win.
Is leaping over the .500 mark, as the Mavs did on Monday night in a 130-124 victory at Orlando really substantially in the grand NBA standings-related scheme of things?
Yes. Psychologically, "over .500'' - the Mavs now sitting at 17-16 and inching into playoff contention in the Western Conference - is brain candy. And the mind is now playing beneficial tricks on the Mavs, just as Luka and company played tricks on Orlando.
Doncic, an NBA All-Star starter who turned 22 on Sunday and is seventh in the league at 28.5 points per game (along with 8.4 rebounds and nine assists) contributed 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists (and one shoe) here.
Said coach Rick Carlisle of Luka: "This guy defies a lot of logic when it comes to conventional coaching theories. That's why we give him the ball and let him go.
Sidekick Porzingis - the subject first of trade gossip while sidelined and not playing well but now coach Rick Carlisle's late Valentine - participated for a second straight game, following the Mavs' Saturday success at Brooklyn with a game in which he did not shoot well but nevertheless gets credited with a 17-points/10-rebounds effort.
The Mavericks, who also jumped over .500 on the road with a now-9-8 mark, are a top-four NBA team when it comes to fast-break points and they were able to control the pace here by shooting 52 percent and by out-rebounding Orlando 46-41.
Dallas, which sweeps the season series from 13-22 Orlando, overcame the work of Nikola Vucevic (29 points, 15 boards) and a late Magic push (out-scoring the Mavs 22-10 in the last five minutes) with help from defensive "belt'' winner Maxi Kleber and Jalen Brunson, who scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
"I make sure people tell me the gym's closed or they kick me out,'' said Brunson on the FSSW postgame show. "My confidence is my work ethic."
Ah yes. Confidence. Psychology.
This road win eases the Mavs out of a trend with the Magic, by the way, as previous to Monday, the home team had won 11 of the last 12 meetings.
The Mavs are now 9-3 in their last 12 games, a surge that figures to accomplish a great deal when it comes to the psyche of this Luka-led team. It also helps, of course, that Dallas is healthy.
Said Carlisle: "We're much better when we're not directly dealing by COVID."
Until this point, the Mavericks hadn't been above .500 since Jan. 22. Want momentum? It's there for the taking, with a Wednesday home game against 14-20 Oklahoma City and then the All-Star break.
CONTINUE READING: Porzingis Reveals 'Distraction' Thoughts On Mavs Trade Rumors