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The perfect 10 Porzingis shine as the Mavs snap a losing streak

Have you ever had one of those days where you hit every green light, find an extra $ 10 in your jeans pocket, and have a visit from the boss where he tells you to pick up your afternoon?

Yes, neither do I.

But Kristaps Porzingis had one of those magical nights on Wednesday when almost everything went wrong.

And, as an extension, the Mavericks had a lot of things that also turned out great.

Porzingis threw 27 points to go with 13 rebounds when the Mavericks halted their three-game losing streak with a 124-112 win over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Playing only his fifth game since returning from rehabilitation after right knee surgery in October, Porzingis fired his first 1

0 shots from the triangular arc, most of them from focus while he and Luka Doncic worked with lob passes and base cuts to perfection. .

Porzingis started in the center for the first time after working as a force forward with Willie Cauley-Stein the previous four games.

The difference was clear. The Mavericks had the best 68 points of the season in the paint. And while their long-distance shooting lagged early, it came to life in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks took control of what was a tight game.

“When I play in the top five (center), it’s much easier for me,” said Porcisis. “When I roll (next to the basket), there is more space. And Luke did a great job of getting everyone involved.

The first quarter, four of my five baskets were alignments of great passes from my teammates. So I didn’t really have to do much, set up a good screen, scroll through the basket, and finish. Tonight came easy, very nice appearance. “

Still, the Mavericks opened the game only in the fourth quarter – when Porzingis and Cauley-Stein were on the floor together. Coach Rick Carlisle decided to go with a smaller squad to start the game when it was learned that Indian Miles Turner, the NBA leader with blocked shots, would be out with an arm injury.

“It had a huge impact on our violation, for sure,” Carlisle told the smaller squad. “With all the different looks in defense we expected and the fact that Turner was not playing, we would have become smaller. If Turner had played, we probably would have stayed big, but we would probably have gotten pretty fast.

“The distance between the five definitely helps. But I think KP and Willie have proven that you can still earn points and stop playing with two big ones. It was great to see and really the difference in the game when we managed to stop a series of stops with Willie in the game. “

The Pacers scored just 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks turned a one-point lead to a 118-104 lead with less than five minutes to play.

In support of Porzingis, Trey Burke had 22 points off the bench.

Oh, and Doncic? All he did was publish another triple-double, his fifth of the season and 30you from his still young career. With the Indiana defense throwing several defenders in its path, Doncic had only 13 points, but also had 12 assists and 12 rebounds.

“Obviously I couldn’t do much, because every time I was on the court, I had two or three players every time,” Doncic said. “But that’s why the paint was so open. I think they forget that we have five players on the court. That’s why we had high points for the season in the paint. “

Although the Mavericks led most of the way, the game got nervous in the third quarter and the Mavericks were only one point ahead in the fourth.

Then Burke came to life. He knocked a few three-pointers after the Mavericks made just 4 of 21 in three quarters. They made four of six in the fourth quarter, which included Tim Hardway Jr., hitting a total of four of five shots and his two threes. That’s after a 0-for-12 shooting in the loss to Toronto on Monday.

“It was a great victory for us,” Carlisle said. “I don’t think we lost more than twice in a row last year. And suddenly this season we went from fifth place in the West to 10thyou place. So we had to go back somehow. It would be all about the fight.

“And Porzingis was great. I think it’s great when we can get situations where we can get the distance so he can mix rolls and popcorn. “

All this led to a flood of dots in the paint.

“We always want to put the ball in the paint,” Carlisle said. “Every team in this league earns more points of possession when they get the ball in the fight first. It’s just a fact of life. “

Twitter: @ESefko

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