A big fourth quarter from the Dallas Mavericks fuelled an important 116-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
One night after a disappointing loss to the Houston Rockets, Dallas rallied after trailing 84-80 through three quarters.
The win could prove pivotal for the Mavericks who are 1.5 games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
Milwaukee, who were without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the third straight game slip to 32-19 on the season as they attempt to stay in the race for a top-two seed in the East.
⚠️ BEWARE OF DOE DOE ⚠️- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 9, 2021
9 points | 10 rebounds | 3 blocks @doefinney_10 | #MFFL pic.twitter.com/6TklEOcyoC
Struggling with a toe injury, watching Doncic move up and down the floor was painful.
Clearly frustrated, Doncic would remove his shoe every time he left to the floor to get some relief, at one point throwing his shoe at the ground in disgust.
The frustration appeared to be magnified by the officiating, with the Mavs star picking up a technical foul in the third quarter after some close defensive attention from Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
Despite being clearly agitated throughout, Doncic still recorded 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Move through Dallas w/ the Eurostep 🥵🥵🥵@luka7doncic | @AcmeBrick pic.twitter.com/eebuNhaXt1- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 9, 2021
Coming off a disappointing loss to the Houston Rockets the night before, one of the talking points to come out of the game was Porzingis' lack of involvement in the offence during the fourth quarter.
Pregame, head coach Rick Carlisle pointed to the floor spacing the big man provides simply by standing on the perimeter and during the fourth quarter against Milwaukee, he made his mark by drilling two 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Dallas a 95-93 lead with 6:33 to play.
Feed @kporzee🍴 pic.twitter.com/mJKV6GXkEN- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 9, 2021
That sequence sparked an 11-point fourth period for Porzingis, who broke out to post a monster 26-point, 17-rebound double-double.
It feels blasphemous to compare any big man to legendary Dallas big man Dirk Nowitzki but Brook Lopez was certainly giving his best impression.
Multiple times during the second quarter, Lopez posted up Kristaps Porzingis before turning and knocking down Dirk's trademark one-legged fadeaway jumpshot.
Even with the 7'3" Porzingis in his face, the Milwaukee veteran impressively knocked them down. Without Giannis in the lineup, Lopez stepped up to finish with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
Brook. Lopez. Sheesh. pic.twitter.com/VvVAPXW844- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 9, 2021
Bucks stars struggle
Without Giannis, much of the offensive load falls on the shoulders of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer praised Middleton's aggressiveness in what a brutal shooting night for the forward, finishing with 14 points on 6-for-27 shooting from the floor. Holiday also struggled through a tough shooting night, registering just 13 points on 6-for-16 from the field.
Spare a thought for Holiday, who has had the task of defending Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard and Steph Curry in the last week alone. With that in mind, it's probably fair to assume, fatigue played a small part in the tough night.
Milwaukee have reached the end of a six-game West Coast trip but will head home on little rest to host the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow. Dallas will have two nights off before hosting the San Antonio Spurs.
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