With rumors floating and the trade deadline looming, Kirstaps Porzingis chose Minnesota as the stage to remind everyone why he is so valuable to Dallas.
In the Dallas Mavericks 128-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Porzingis played arguably his best all-around performance of the season. He poured in 29 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out four assists and blocked two shots. However, this performance didn’t come as a surprise as against Minnesota, for his career, he averages 19.2 points per game and eight rebounds.
“I just played my game today,” Porzingis said after the game. “This was the type of game I could not let slip…I’m glad we took care of business.”
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 25, 2021
The game by the numbers:
Both the first half and the second half started slow for Dallas. Rick Carlisle attributed it to a lack of energy overall. However, the one player seemingly not lacking energy was Porzingis. He scored 12 points each in both the first and the third quarters.
Porzingis is a safety net for Dallas. He offers the Mavericks a security blanket for a rare night where Luka Doncic looks human. Tonight was one of those nights for Doncic who only scored 15 points while shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 22 percent from three.
The chemistry between those two on the floor has routinely been cross-examined and question. Ideas such as, “are these two the perfect fit?” surface after a bad game from one of the two. But truthfully those questions aren’t fair assessments. When looking at the complete arch of the Doncic and Porzingis pairing, it hasn’t passed the first act of the show yet. Give these two times, and there is a confidence that they can figure it out.
Throughout this season it’s been Doncic covering for Porzingis’ bad games, this time, the role is flipped. Tonight Porzingis gave credibility to the argument that his production is integral to Dallas. And there should be little doubt that his role on this team is going to change anytime soon.
With the win over Minnesota, Dallas improves to 23-19 on the year – good enough for first place in the Southwest Division. In the last 15 games, Dallas is 10-5, showcasing that once all the pieces were in place, this group is a very good team. There is cohesion amongst the players that didn’t exist two months ago. And after the game, Carlisle claimed that the adversity and unusualness of the year brought the team closer together.
“The group is becoming a more close-knit group. Going through difficult situations with COVID and a difficult early schedule has brought the group closer together,” Carlisle said. “It’s a very unusual year…but the team has been resilient and has been able to bounce back all year.”
Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.