The Dallas Mavericks have been all smiles Monday night time after defeating the Orlando Magic.
With their eighth win within the final 10 video games, the Mavs improved to 17-16 and climbed again over .500 for the primary time since Jan. 22. After a sluggish begin, the total rotation is wholesome and Dallas seems to be turning a nook forward of the NBA All-Star break.
However, the latest scorching streak has not answered all the Mavs’ questions. Their greatest long-term uncertainty stays Kristaps Porzingis. Can he keep on the ground? And can he be the second possibility on a championship contender?
The 130-126 win over Orlando on Monday was emblematic of the Mavs’ points. Luka Doncic was sensational, ending with 33 factors, 10 rebounds and 9 assists on 12-of-22 capturing from the sector and 5-of-10 from 3-point vary.
Porzingis, although, was inconsistent, and the Mavs struggled to place away an inferior Magic staff. Porzingis shot 1-of-9 within the first half and missed all six of his 3-point makes an attempt. He bounced again within the second half to shoot 4-of-6 total and 3-of-4 from lengthy vary.
For the season, Porzingis is averaging 20.2 factors on 46.9% capturing from the sector and 34.2% from 3-point vary.
Jalen Brunson picked up the Mavs Monday with 24 factors off the bench, however that flip of occasions is way from excellent. Brunson is a fantastic backup level guard who can play crunch-time minutes subsequent to Doncic. But he cannot be their second-best participant in the event that they wish to really compete for the title.
Monday was Porzingis’ second sport again after lacking three with again tightness. He missed the primary 9 video games of the season whereas recovering from knee surgical procedure. The Mavs will give him time to regain his conditioning, however the runway is not that lengthy. The second half of the season is going to be a hectic sprint to the playoffs.
“What I’m working towards is making sure my body is strong and durable that I can just play without thinking about anything, without worrying,” Porzingis mentioned final week.
The Mavericks are currently ninth in the stacked Western Conference. To climb the standings and provides themselves confidence for the postseason, the Mavs want the robust and sturdy Porzingis to grab the function they envisioned once they acquired him.
Here are 4 extra issues to know right now within the NBA:
West contenders meet
The Phoenix Suns have been the breakout staff of the NBA’s first half. Sitting in fourth within the Western Conference, they have an opportunity for a signature win tonight in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers in a nationwide TV matchup. Coming off a 43-point outing Sunday, Devin Booker mentioned he is “looking forward” to dealing with the defending champs for the primary time this season.
Knicks again at it
After a day in the national spotlight, the New York Knicks return to the court docket tonight trying to preserve the momentum that has followers fascinated about snapping their playoff drought. At 18-17, the Knicks are over .500 this late in the season for the primary time since 2012-13. They’re fourth in a good Eastern Conference race heading into tonight’s sport in opposition to the San Antonio Spurs.
Circle the wagons
The Atlanta Hawks look to maneuver on tonight in opposition to the Miami Heat of their first sport after firing Lloyd Pierce as head coach Monday. Pierce was dismissed after compiling a 63-120 document in two-plus seasons with the Hawks. They entered the season with raised expectations after making huge offseason strikes, however they stumbled to a disappointing 14-20 begin that value Pierce his job.
Stars on a roll
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are still on fire for the Denver Nuggets. The duo has seemingly alternated big performances over the previous two weeks whereas the Nuggets attempt to discover their footing within the West race. They’ll look to remain scorching tonight in a marquee matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on a tear of his personal, and the Bucks just welcomed back Jrue Holiday from a bout with COVID-19.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.