© Reuters. NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves
The Dallas Mavericks want to keep going when they host the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
The Mavericks scored their 14th win in 19 games on Wednesday with a 128-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. That win gave Dallas a 2-1 three-game road trip that will begin a five-game hike after its brief pit stop against Indiana.
The Mavericks good game came after the team cleared the kinks after a brutal stretch of COVID-19-related absences.
“The group is getting closer,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. “Dealing with tough situations with COVID, a tough early schedule, and loads of street games brought the group closer together in my opinion. It’s just a very unusual year.”
Kristaps Porzingis shot 34.4 percent off the floor (11 of 32) over three games before making 11 of 23 attempts in his 29-point performance against Minnesota. Seven different Mavericks hit double-digit results to help steer Dallas in the right direction.
“If we want to be the kind of team we think we can be, these games are a must,” said Porzingis. “Anything can happen, but these are the types of games we can’t let slip.
“We’re working to get better. We had a difficult start with a lot of people. I think we’re working our way back into it.”
Porzingis accumulated 27 points and 13 rebounds and Luka Doncic added a triple-double (13 points, 12 boards, 12 assists) in Dallas’s 124-112 win over Indiana on Jan. 20. The Mavericks played without Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell and Josh Richardson in this game due to COVID-19 logs.
Malcolm Brogdon had 26 points and Domantas Sabonis finished that competition with 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who responded with three of their last four points on a brutal 2-8 stretch.
While Brogdon (16 points) and Sabonis (14 points, 11 rebounds) were the main contributors on Wednesday, it was Caris LeVert who posted his best performance since taking over on the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to Brooklyn in January.
LeVert scored 15 of his 28 team-level points in the second quarter of Indiana’s 116-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
LeVert admitted he’s still working his way back after going missing two months after surgery in January to remove a cancerous mass.
“It’s hard to repeat anything about a real NBA game,” said LeVert. “You can run as many sprints as you want. You can ride your bike for as long as you want. But when you’re running up and down, running from screens, protecting people, you can’t do that again.”
Indiana continues to receive a boost from its bankers. The reserves made 7 of 12 shots out of the 3-point range on Wednesday and ended with 44 points. This was the third time in their last four games that they have scored at least 40 goals.
Edmond Sumner hit a season high by scoring 18 points in 7-of-9 shooting from the ground.
– Field level media
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