DALLAS - Wednesday night's 102-93 loss at lowly Houston put most every member of the Dallas Mavericks - who'd entered the game aiming for a sixth straight victory - in a sour mood.
Luka Doncic (who scored 23 points but shot 9-of-26 and 1-of-9 from the arc) bemoaned his bad game, at one point hurling a water bottle in anger and later labeling himself "horrible.''
Coach Rick Carlisle called it a "disappointing loss'' and acknowledged that calling Luka "frustrated'' was "a fair assessment.''
Tim Hardaway Jr. offered big-picture analysis by noting, “Portland lost (Tuesday), and we needed this win (in order to climb up from No. 7 in the West.) "So yes, it does put us back a little bit.''
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And Kristaps Porzingis, maybe the only guy in the Dallas lineup who actually played well, with 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting with 12 rebounds?
He just sat there. Quietly. For what seemed like a long time.
In the postgame media session, that is, when his silent spoke as loudly as his eventual answer.
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Why didn't KP take a shot in the critical fourth quarter?
“Good question,” Porzingis said after pausing for a relative-eternity of five seconds. “It’s just the plays we were running. Happened before, also.”
A psychologist might label this answer as "passive-aggressive.'' A coach might simply look at it as a star-caliber player who wants the ball ... knows he should've gotten it ... but doesn't want to bitch ... too much.
Doncic and Porzingis and the Mavs (28-22) get a back-to-back crack at it tonight against Giannis and the visiting Bucks (32-18), though injuries and "load management'' will determine exactly who plays. KP said his sprained wrist “feels good now,” and said it's “something I’ll deal with ... in the offseason ... I’ll just try to go as much as I can and hopefully it holds up.”
Carlisle said, "We've got to move forward,'' but also added about the Rockets game, “We did a great job of getting the thing tied. And then it’s just unfortunate that we weren’t able to get that next stop and get another score. Because getting the lead would have been an important thing to do in the last two minutes.”
The lead might've found its way to Dallas had the ball found its way to Porzingis.