First, the Dallas Mavericks went to war against the Houston Rockets to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, and they did so by overcoming a 21-point deficit to win in overtime. Then, after that win, the team went to the gym to work out and prepare for their pivotal Game 7 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Dallas Mavericks will have to wait for the news on the status of their rookie sensation Luka Dončić following his gruesome injury in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dončić is out indefinitely sometime in the next few weeks, but the Mavs will be fine without him. In fact, they may even end up much stronger once they get him back in their lineup. That’s because the Mavs will have the opportunity to play a lottery-bound Kristaps Porziņģis in his place.
The injury to Mavericks’ rookie Luka Dončić is bad news for the Mavericks, and really bad news for the rest of the NBA. The second-round pick has generated a ton of excitement in just a few months with his electrifying play. He’s scored 30 or more points in six of his last seven games. He’s a true PG that can score at will, can handle the ball, and can play multiple positions. The Mavericks’ season is over, unless Kristaps Porziņģis shows up to play.
The Dallas Mavericks returned home for Game 3 of their first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, desperate for a win. After two wins in Los Angeles, the Mavericks were in a good position to pull off a mathematically easy but visually daunting victory. With Luka Doncic acting like a superstar, Dallas didn’t even have to worry about big man Kristaps Porzigngis playing small. When Dallas led 30-11 with less than 7.5 minutes to go in Game 3, the team must have felt good. Then, almost without warning, the roof collapsed. Now the Mavericks are trying to prevent an epic collapse.
Luka Doncic’s neck injury hurt the Mavericks in more ways than one
. The Clippers ended the first half with a 20-4 spurt, led 63-61 at halftime and ran out to a 118-108 victory. Luka Doncic struggled with a neck injury in Game 4, which Los Angeles won by a margin to regain home-field advantage in a best-of-three series. And Kristaps Porzinhis? He scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 28 minutes, but the Clippers took advantage of his defensive weaknesses by playing small. Porzingis stepped away from the boards while Los Angeles used Rajon Rondo as a backstop for Kawhi Leonard. Rondo passes the ball quickly with a short throw. Porzingis has no intention of calming down. Leonard leads or an open shooter takes a shot at a moving Dallas defense. But Porzingis didn’t have time to get the series up before the Clippers turned him into a human torch on the defensive end. In the first three games of the series, Doncic is averaging 38.0 points, 9.0 assists and nearly 8.7 rebounds per game. Those numbers are the result of a 51.9% shooting percentage, 45.9% on 12.3 three-point attempts, not to mention free throws. Seriously Luke, 48.1% is bad on the level of Shaquille O’Neal. In Game 4, Doncic scored 19 points on 24 shots, hit just one of seven shots from long range and converted all five of his field goals in 36 minutes.
Kristaps Porzignis is not the star Dallas was hoping for
Facundo Campazzo (5’11) has averaged 1 more rebound per game than Kristaps Porzingis (7’3) in these playoffs. pic.twitter.com/pRouzV9wRe – StatMuse (@statmuse) 29. May 2021 In a blockbuster deal in January 2019, the Mavericks acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks, as well as Tim Hardaway Jr (still with the Mavs), Trey Bourque (not so much) and Courtney Lee (also gone). Former first-round pick Dennis Smith Jr, Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan and the 2021 and 2023 first-round picks went the other way. The 2021 pick belongs to New York; the other pick offers top-10 protection. Porzignis would be a star partner for young Luka Doncic, almost like the great Dirk Nowitzki – Steve Nash tandem. It happened, but not often enough. The Unicorns responded with averages of 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 100 games for Dallas. He missed 18 games during the 2019-20 season (as well as the last three games after a first-round loss to the Clippers). He has already missed 29 games this season. In the first three games against Los Angeles in this series, Porzignis is averaging 14.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. He shot 42.9 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from long range and 8 of 10 from the line. Stat Muse shared the above tweet showing how Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo outplayed Porzingis in the first three games of the playoffs. To be fair, the 6-foot-6 Porzingis is now averaging 4.0 boards per night per series, while playing 32.4 minutes per game. By comparison : Campazzo, who stands 6-foot-11, is averaging 4.0 rebounds in 30.2 minutes per game in the series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Pete Campbell of Mad Menperhaps summed it up best.
Porzingis needs to make big moves to keep Dallas in the series
Luka Doncic (left) and Kristaps Porzigngis of the Dallas Mavericks. | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Luka Doncic can’t do it alone, and Kristaps Porzingis is the star the Dallas Mavericks want to pair with Doncic. But here’s the thing. Porzingis has played seven postseason games in his career. The Mavericks are 3-4 in these games. Porzingis’ only double-double in that span was an impressive 34 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3 against the Clippers last year. But the effects of a torn meniscus, suffered in the first game, ended his season after that one. Owner Mark Cuban said the two stars don’t always get along on the field, although he insists they get along well when they are on the field. But it has been proven that relations on the ground were not always good either. The fifth game will be in Los Angeles and the sixth in Dallas. Whether the series continues or the Mavericks make it to the first round for the first time since their 2011 NBA title will ultimately depend on what Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzinhis can prepare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Luka not playing for the Mavericks tonight?
The Mavericks are getting a few storylines going into tonight’s game against the Spurs. First, Dirk is trying to win his 5th ring in his last game against the Spurs. Also, Luka Dončić is out with a finger injury and is unlikely to play tonight. This will end the Mavericks season if Kristaps Porziņģis doesn’t show up. (The Mavs are currently a game and a half behind the Spurs for home court advantage in the playoffs. If they lose tonight, they are out of the playoffs.) Dallas is losing its star forward, Kristaps Porziņģis, for the remainder of the NBA season. It’s unfortunate, but Luka Dončić will have to handle the bulk of the scoring for the Mavericks. If Dončić can duplicate his Production In Minutes Per Game this year, Dallas will be fine. Obviously, the Mavs can’t afford to completely rely on Dončić, but there’s no reason they can’t control the game with him.
Why is Kristaps not playing?
The Dallas Mavericks are currently recording their season on a DVR in the basement, but they could have their playoff run on the verge of ending if a few NBA Finals vets don’t show up for a few more days. The 2018 NBA playoffs has already seen the first injury, and it was a big one. For the Dallas Mavericks, this means that they will not be playing in the postseason at all. Their season, and most likely their careers will come to a sudden end if they lose in the playoffs, as their star Kristaps Porziņģis is unlikely to play in the next round of games.
Where is Luka doncic from?
After the 2018 NBA draft wrapped up, the Dallas Mavericks were in the driver’s seat for selecting Luka Dončić, the 7-foot-1, 21-year-old point guard from Slovenia. Lakers fans had the chance to feel even better about the potential selection of Ja Morant with the 2nd pick. Now, the two teams are battling it out for the right to select the projected Top-3 players, plus the other potential franchise-changing players in the lottery. With the draft fast approaching, the Mavericks are looking to make a trade to move up. Luka Dončić has been one of the NBA’s best rookies, posting double-digit scoring totals in every game he played for Dallas. The Mavs have been locked in on him as the future of the franchise, and he is the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year. But his season took a sudden turn late in December for a strange reason.
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