The Dallas Mavericks won their seventh game in their last 10 outings on Wednesday night, using a big third quarter to cruise past the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves 128-108 at the Target Center.
In the first half, it looked as though Dallas was in for a rough night, with the Mavs shooting below 50-percent and leading Minnesota by just a single point at 56-55 heading into the locker room at halftime.
About four minutes into the third quarter, however, the Dallas offense came alive, outscoring the Wolves 32-18 in the quarter, and using an aggressive defensive approach and a fast-paced offensive attack to take a double-digit lead into the final 12 minutes.
Dallas would continue that aggression into the fourth quarter, opening up an insurmountable lead as the quarter progressed, and closing out the game.
With Luka Doncic (15 points on 6-of-16 shooting) struggling for much of the contest, the Mavs second star, Kristaps Porzingis, was the go-to guy for Dallas, finishing the night with 29 points, nine rebounds and two blocks while hitting 11-of-23 shots from the field.
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“If we want to be the type of team that we think in our minds we can be, these games are must-wins,” Porzingis said. “We’re working to get better.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson also had major impacts scoring 21 and 16 points respectively off of the bench. Hardaway did most of his damage from beyond the arc, hitting 5-of-9 from three, while Brunson also added 11 rebounds and five assists.
The Mavs had three other players finish in double figures on Wednesday, with Dwight Powell adding 16 points and eight rebounds, Josh Richardson scoring 10 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith finishing with 11 points.
As a team, the Mavs finished the game shooting 48.5-percent from the floor, and 36.4-percent from three, while out-rebounding the wolves 52-37.
The Mavs (23-19) will be back in action on Friday night when they return home to take on the Indiana Pacers (20-23) at the American Airlines Center.
“The group is becoming a more and more close-knit group,” said coach Rick Carlisle, well aware of the Thursday trade deadline, “Difficult situations ... (have) brought the group closer together in my opinion. It’s just a very unusual year.”