Without their superstar leader Luka Doncic, who sat out the game due to back soreness, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, 87-78, to bring the team's record up to 18-16 heading into the NBA All-Star break. The Portland Trail Blazers also defeated the Golden State Warriors soon after that, which means the Mavs sit alone as the 8-seed in the Western Conference standings heading into the second half of the season.

READ MORE: Luka-Less Mavs Win By Committee Vs. OKC, 87-78

Given how the Mavs fell into a 9-14 hole after experiencing so many early-season difficulties, including Doncic getting back into game shape, Kristaps Porzingis missing the first nine games of the season as he recovered from meniscus surgery, and losing many key guys for multiple weeks due to Covid-19, Mavs fans can't help but be thrilled at where this team is at with a full half of a season ahead. Dallas has now won 10 of its last 13 games, and is just two games back of the 5th seed in the West.

“It is obviously tough when you are losing, and we are the type of team that expects to win every game,” said Porzingis when asked about how the team has stayed optimistic despite the early season struggles.

“We had worse moments, but we knew we had a lot of guys out. I started the season late. Maxi [Kleber] and Dwight [Powell] and everyone was catching the virus. We didn’t have the whole team playing for a while. It just took time, and also the schedule was really tough. It was a combination of things. The good thing is that we are getting in a rhythm lately and want to keep it going after the break.”

On this episode of the Mavs Step Back Podcast, Dalton Trigg is joined by Tayler Peterson from The Uncontested Podcast, an Oklahoma City Thunder podcast that is on the Blue Wire network along with the Mavs Step Back Podcast. The guys discuss the Mavs' 87-78 win over the Thunder from both teams' perspectives, including biggest positives and negatives from the game, how both teams have faired with preseason expectations heading into the NBA All-Star Break, Mavs trade speculation, and much more! Should the Mavs consider trading Porzingis for Nikola Vucevic? Let's talk about it.

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure to:

  • Subscribe to the Mavs Step Back Podcast on your favorite podcast platform. We're on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and many more platforms.
  • Subscribe to us on YouTube for our exclusive sit-down interviews with great Mavs guests like Mark Cuban, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Wes Iwundu. Our first 1,000 subscribers will be entered for a chance to win TWO tickets to the Mavs game of your choice!
  • Give us a good rating and review on Apple Podcasts if that's where you listen every week.

CONTINUE READING: Mavs’ Tyrell Terry 1-on-1: Being 'Groomed' To Help Luka