The Dallas Mavericks shut down the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, winning by 17 points (115-98). The Nets 8 game winning streak ended when the Mavericks held the lead most of the game. By the third quarter the Mavericks had 20 points just off turnovers the Nets made. In the fourth, they held a 22-point lead over the Nets, making it hard for them to bounce back.
Luka Doncic has been an important player for the Mavericks, and it has certainly shown. Doncic is one of those players who knows if the Mavericks face a loss, he will take a lot of the heat for it and is okay with that. Despite a lot of the pressure being on him, he still gives 100% every game. Doncic has had 3, 40-point games this month alone. In just the first quarter, Doncic put 15 points on the board. Doncic played 34 minutes, making 52.4% of his shots from the field goal. By the end of the night, Doncic had 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Porzingis returns to the lineup
Earlier this week, there was talk about Center Kristap Porzingis being traded. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quickly shut down those rumors. Porzingis responded to the rumors saying, “I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. I shouldn’t be too worried about it. It can only distract me about it at the end of the day. I try to focus on being here in the moment, being here day-to- day, putting in the work with my teammates and getting better as a basketball player at the end. That’s it.” Despite the trade rumors, Porzingis returned to the lineup on Saturday night’s game showing he was not worried about it and unbothered.
The Mavericks welcomed back Kristap Porzingis to the lineup after he missed the last 3 games due to lower back pain. Porzingis was a crucial player in Saturday night’s game, both offensively and defensively. Defensively, Porzingis made sure to stay posted up, leading him to have 3 blocks and 4 rebounds. He did not shy away from the hoop and drew fouls to help send him to the line. Offensively, Porzingis went 7-13 from the field goal and 4-5 from the free throw line, making 80% of his free throws. In total, Porzingis played for 26 minutes, making 53.8% of his shots from the field. By the end of the game, he had 18 points, and it is fair to say that Porzingis was feeling better and had a great first game back.
The Nets missing 2/3 of the “Big Three”
The Nets were forced to play Saturday night’s game without key players Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, leaving the “Big Three” with only James Harden playing. Durant missed his 7th straight game after Saturday night due to a strain on his left hamstring. Before Durant’s injury, he was averaging 29 points per game. Irving, another key player, missed Saturday night’s game due to resting his right shoulder that he received surgery on last year. Irving averages about 27.4 points per game. Although Durant and Irving were out, the Nets were still looking to continue their win streak but came up short.
Regardless of having to battle without two star players, Harden was still part of the Net’s starting lineup. Harden will be making his 9th All-Star appearance this year. He had a great night offensively before things started slowing down. Harden came out hot in the first half, scoring 25 points; 15 of those points just in the first quarter. Things slowed down for him in the second half when he only scored 4 points. He ended the night with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Harden alone made up 30% of the points scored in Saturday night’s game for the Nets. Despite ending with 29 points, unfortunately, Harden struggled to do it alone. Bruce Brown (Nets) ended his night with 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Had the Nets had Irving and Durant in Saturday night’s game would have been an entirely different one.
The Nets head on the road to face off against the San Antonio Spurs. This matchup will take place on March 1st at 8:30 pm. Brooklyn hopes to bounce back from this loss and come out of their next game with a win. The Spurs are ranked 5th in the Western Conference with a record of 17-12.
As for the Mavericks, they continue their road trip and hope to beat the Orlando Magic. This matchup takes place on March 1st at 7:00 pm. The Magic is ranked 13 in the Eastern Conference with a record of 13-21.