The Dallas Mavericks revival continued with a win in Brooklyn, as the franchise improved to a 16-16 record - their first instance of being at .500 or better in more than a month.
Six players finished in double figures, led by their 22-year-old sensation Luka Doncic as they snapped the eight-game win streak of the Brooklyn Nets, who suited up in this one without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
With the win, the Mavericks have now won eight of their last 11 after starting the season 8-13 including a six-game losing streak.
Here are the biggest talking points from the clash that capped off the day's six-game slate:
Doncic & Harden shine in duel
Despite two big stars ruled out of this clash, this game still had the entertaining Harden-Doncic head-to-head to look forward to. And it didn't disappoint, especially in the first half.
The All-Stars did most of their damage in the first half, at the end of which the Mavericks led 68-64. While Doncic was responsible for 35 of his team's first-half points, Harden scored or assisted on 31.
Luka and The Beard duel in the 1st half on ABC!- NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2021
Doncic: 19 PTS, 6 AST
Harden: 25 PTS, 4 3PM pic.twitter.com/fpuVM0JTDN
While the duel made for an entertaining first half, the Mavericks ran away with the game in the second half. Dallas opened this game up by outscoring the hosts 47-34 in the second half.
"It's tough," Nets head coach Steve Nash said postgame. We, missing some guys, and then Tyler (Johnson) unfortunately had a terrible migraine, and just made us shorter and shorter off the bench; less options, less cohesion, less continuity, and Dallas played well. They made shots when it counted, made plays when it counted, and they deserved it."
Doncic finished the game with 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals. On the other hand, Harden accumulated 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists but committed six of the team's 19 turnovers.
Kristaps Porzingis returns
The Latvian center returned to action after a fortnight of no competitive basketball. In 26 minutes of action, he finished with 18 points, four rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.
AND-1 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/5U1Resnvhc- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 28, 2021
"I thought his rim protection and defense was the best that it's been all year long." Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said postgame on Porzingis.
Among key contributors for the Mavericks were the bench duo of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson, who combined for 27 points in limited minutes. Also, Dorian Finney-Smith.
A big night for Dorian Finney-Smith, as he stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points (5-6 FG, 2-3 3FG), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and a game-high +24 rating.- Mavs PR (@MavsPR) February 28, 2021
This was the first time in Finney-Smith's career that he has hit all of those benchmarks in a single game. pic.twitter.com/o3tUOxlE77
Mavs feast on Nets turnovers
For the game, Dallas turned the Nets' 19 turnovers into 32 points while allowing six points off their nine turnovers.
🔒 DOE SAID NO 🔒 pic.twitter.com/m7rUzDcGjJ- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 28, 2021
The 32 points is a season-high for the Mavericks.
"We had some careless turnovers for sure that led to run-out layups," said Nash. "That hurts. We're only down I think four at the half and gave them 20 points off turnovers.
The Mavericks will wrap-up their road trip in Orlando by playing the Magic in a couple of days, looking to go above .500 for the first time since Jan. 22.
The Nets, on the other hand, have a day off before they head to Texas for two games including James Harden's return to Houston for the first time since the mid-January trade.
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