By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
No Luka Doncic, no problem.
Playing the Portland Trailblazers for the second straight time in three days, the Dallas Mavericks entered the matchup with huge concerns after their Slovenian superstar was ruled out due to right ankle swelling.
Together with key players like Grant Williams, Dereck Lively, Dante Exum, Maxi Kleber, and Markieff Morris who were also out due to their respective injuries, the Mavericks had to rely on their remaining players last January 6, 2024.
However, in a stunning turn of events, Dallas demolished the Trailblazers by 36 points, 139-103, to improve to a 21-15 win-loss record in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks pulled off a lethal balanced attack as all 11 players scored in the ball game including their second stringers.
Superstar point guard and Doncic’s backcourt mate Kyrie Irving led the charge for the Mavericks after dropping 24 big points in just 28 minutes of action.
The former NBA champion was all over the court sinking buckets and finished the inter-Western Conference clash with an efficient 10/18 shooting from the field.
Aside from his offensive showcase, Irving also had an all-around performance with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Dallas immediately jumped to a double-digit lead after the first 12 minutes of action, 38-26, and didn’t look back in the three remaining quarters.
It was in the third frame that the Mavericks officially left the Trailblazers behind after only limiting them to 16 points while they dropped 40 in a single quarter.
Portland head coach Chauncey Billups then waved the white flag early in the fourth quarter when the Trailblazers failed to trim their deficit to 20 points.
Backstopping Irving during the momentum-clinching win was Tim Hardaway Jr. who contributed 19 points built from 8/14 shooting from the field.
AJ Lawson, Dallas’ bench member, also embraced the bright lights for the Mavericks and tallied his third double-digit scoring performance with 14 points.