NBA

Doncic surprised by Porzingis' Mavs exit but accepts 'it obviously didn't work out'

By Sports Desk February 11, 2022

Luka Doncic felt he and Kristaps Porzingis were "building something great" but accepted "it didn't obviously work out" after his Dallas Mavericks team-mate was traded to the Washington Wizards.

Much was expected of Porzingis, who was acquired in a huge trade with the New York Knicks back in 2019, but the Mavericks opted to move on from the giant former All-Star midway through a $158million contract.

During his time in Dallas, Porzingis averaged 20 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per games, but injuries restricted him from ever reaching the sort of performance levels he showed in New York.

He arrived while recovering from an ACL injury to his left knee and sustained meniscus damage in his right knee during the playoffs in his first season.

In total, Porzingis played only 134 games, featuring in 34 of 55 this season – a campaign in which he has battled injuries and illness.

Doncic described the trade, which saw the Mavs acquire guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Davis Bertans, as "shocking" but accepted the reasons behind it.

"Obviously, we're going to miss KP," Doncic said. "We were building something great here. It didn't obviously work out. 

"I wish him the best, and we've got two new guys who are welcome. Bertans is a great shooter. Dinwiddie can put the ball on the floor, and he can score. The NBA is a business.

"He went through a lot with the injuries. I think this year, he was way better. Like I said, the NBA is a business, and I wish him the best in the future."

Doncic added that he has trust in general manager Nico Harrison and governor Mark Cuban to put together a roster capable of challenging for NBA titles.

"I trust them, whatever move they make," he said. 

"I think I have great team-mates. A lot of people can do a lot of stuff, and I'm really good now. I think we're playing great basketball."

Doncic was speaking after a mightily impressive performance in the Mavs 112-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, in which he scored 50 points for the first time in his career.

In total he had 51, shooting 28 in the first quarter, the most by any NBA player in a quarter this season. He went 10-of-13 shooting, making seven of his 10 three-point attempts.

"When you feel like that, you just don't want to be stopped and keep going," Doncic said. 

"All the shots felt good. I missed two threes – even those felt great. They were switching. They didn't want me to create, so I had to go to work."

It was the fifth time in Mavs history a player had a 50-point performance, and Doncic could have tried to tie or break Dirk Nowitzki's franchise record of 53 but opted to dribble out the final play instead of going for the basket.

"You don't shoot that shot," Doncic explained. "It's disrespectful."

With Porzingis having now departed there is even more onus on Doncic to perform for a Mavs side who are fifth in the Western Conference with a 33-23 record.

Head coach Jason Kidd was asked whether his team could contend without a second recognised star on their roster.

"We'll see. I'm the coach who has to put them in a position to be successful, get paid, find a way to win," Kidd said.

"As we go through this journey, we'll see if we come across a number two guy. It could be the team that we have where there is no real second star. You've just got guys who play roles at a very high level. And you've seen teams win championships that way, too."

Related items

  • NBA: Doncic's late 3-pointer gives Mavericks 2-0 lead NBA: Doncic's late 3-pointer gives Mavericks 2-0 lead

    Luka Dončić drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3 seconds remaining and finished with a triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 109-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals on Friday night.

    Doncic had 32 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his eighth triple-double in 42 career playoff games for the Mavericks, who erased a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter.

    After winning two on the road, the Mavericks look to take a commanding 3-0 lead as the series shifts to Dallas on Sunday night.

    Naz Reid scored 23 points with seven 3-pointers, but his last shot at the buzzer rimmed out as the Timberwolves endured another off night from stars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. Edwards had 21 points on 5-of-17 shooting and Towns scored 15 on 4 of 16 from the field.

    Jaden McDaniels, who had 20-plus points in each of Minnesota’s last three games, didn’t make a basket until midway through the third. He finished with two points on 1-of-6 shooting.

    Kyrie Irving scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3 from the corner with 65 seconds left that drew Dallas within 108-106.

    Minnesota committed two turnovers, the last one by Edwards, who recklessly threw the ball out of bounds off a drive with 13 seconds to go.

    Doncic took the inbounds pass and dribbled to set up a screen for Dereck Lively II that triggered a switch by the Wolves. Rudy Gobert covered Doncic, but the Mavs superstar sank the 3 and then flexed his arms and yelled at the stunned crowd as his teammates mobbed him.

    The Wolves pushed their lead to 68-52 on Mike Conley’s free throw with 9:07 left in the third quarter, but Dallas scored eight straight points and was within 79-77 on Irving’s basket with 1:22 to play in the quarter.

  • Atlanta United v Los Angeles FC: Pineda insists Five Stripes 'on the right path' Atlanta United v Los Angeles FC: Pineda insists Five Stripes 'on the right path'

    Gonzalo Pineda insists Atlanta United "are on the right path" as they look to get back to winning ways in MLS.

    The Five Stripes are 12th in the Eastern Conference following a run of eight matches without victory.

    Although, they enjoyed a reprieve in the U.S. Open Cup last time out, defeating Charleston Battery on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

    And Pineda hopes his side can build on that momentum when they welcome Los Angeles to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

    "I think we are on the right path," he said. "I think it is really encouraging for the team, for the mentality of the team, to win. 

    "There are many positives out of that. We have to hold onto that positivity, and the mentality of the players that fought and put that together on Saturday."

    "I think that, especially being at home, we need to make sure we are on the front foot right away," midfielder Dax McCarty added.

    "Obviously, our stadium is such a fortress. When you score an early goal, you get everyone excited and the other team feels that pressure, which is such a benefit."

    By contrast, LAFC are fifth in the West and on a four-match winning streak across all competitions – during which they have scored 11 goals and conceded just once.

    "The team is in a good way – winning games, scoring goals and not conceding – and we'd like to continue that," head coach Steve Cherundolo said.

    "We feel good about the moment we're in, and our players are confident. 

    "The players have shown an amazing response [to their defeat by San Jose Earthquakes at the start of the month]. We were shooting ourselves in the foot by making some mistakes in portions of the field where we don't usually do that.

    "The message was that we are really in control of our own destiny, which is a great place to be."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

    Atlanta will be hoping for inspiration from the likes of Almada as they look to end their winless streak.

    The Argentina international has scored in two of their last three league games on home soil.

    Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga

    Bouanga scored both goals in LAFC’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City last time out in MLS.

    He has now found the net 33 times since the start of last season (including play-offs), seven more than any other player during that time.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC

    Only once in their MLS history have Atlanta endured a longer winless streak, going 12 straight games without victory between May and August 2021.

    Meanwhile, LAFC have won successive games to nil for the first time during the regular season since August 2022.

    That came after they recorded just one victory while keeping a clean sheet in their previous 21 such matches.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Atlanta United: 38.2%
    Los Angeles FC: 32.8%
    Draw: 29.0%

  • Confidence will not get the job done for the Celtics, warns Mazzulla Confidence will not get the job done for the Celtics, warns Mazzulla

    Joe Mazzulla warned the Boston Celtics that the confidence garnered from taking a 2-0 series lead against the Indiana Pacers is not enough to secure progress.

    The Celtics won 126-110 on Thursday to move two games ahead in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Pacers.

    Indiana were also dealt a blow when star player Tyrese Haliburton suffered a hamstring injury, which the Pacers will wait agonisingly on.

    Yet with the Pacers having overturned a deficit to overcome the New York Knicks in the last round, Celtics coach Mazzulla knows the job is nowhere near done.

    "The only thing we should be thinking about is, they were down 2-0 a series Tago and brought it to Game 7," Mazzulla said.

    "They do a great job protecting their home court. They're undefeated at home. It's going to take a lot more than confidence to get the job done.

    "We have to focus on the details and the execution and the mindset, the things that go into playing against a team like this at home.

    "I know they're going to respond so it's up to us to do the same."

    Jaylen Brown starred again for the Celtics, finishing with 40 points on the day he missed out on an All-NBA selection.

    "We're two games from the Finals," he said when asked about that snub. "So, honestly, I don't have the time to give a f***."

    Indiana, meanwhile, face the prospect of having to fight back against the NBA's best team without their key player.

    "He does so many things for our team," T.J McConnell said of Haliburton.

    "I think everyone has to move the ball more, get in the paint more. The ball movement has to be at another level. He gets 10 assists in his sleep, so it's hard for another person on our team to replicate that. It's a group effort when he goes down."

    Pacers coach Rick Carlisle added: "We'll know more [on Friday] and then probably more Saturday."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.