The Dallas Mavericks will again try to prove their dominance on the road Sunday afternoon against the injury-depleted Toronto Raptors.
With Luka Doncic sitting out his third game with a sprained ankle Friday night, the Mavericks defeated the host Philadelphia 76ers 117-98.
The Mavericks are 11-2 on the road, including seven straight wins. The 76ers entered Friday with a 14-1 home record.
“I think our chemistry is good in the locker room,” said Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 22 points and grabbed a career-best 18 rebounds Friday. “The chemistry translates on the floor. We play hard. And that’s it.”
The Raptors — playing without starters Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (shoulder) — defeated the visiting Washington Wizards 122-118 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive win. Toronto will be without the injured starters — all injured in the road win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday — indefinitely.
“We won the game,” said Kyle Lowry, who had 26 points and nine assists Friday. “That helps. It’s going to be a work in progress and I think guys will continue to get more comfortable every game. We are going to continue to have to have guys step up.”
The Mavericks’ road winning streak includes 14-point victories over the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers and a four-point win to end the Milwaukee Bucks’ 18-game winning streak. They lost at home to the Boston Celtics between the wins in Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Dallas is 8-7 at home.
The absence of Doncic, an MVP candidate, has had its benefits.
“This has been a good thing for us, just from the standpoint of having other guys being put in a situation to have to step up,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “And it’s forced us as coaches to make certain adjustments that we have to make. You never want to be without a guy like Luka Doncic. He’s a great all-around player. We need him back as long as possible, but as long as he’s out, we have a plan, and the guys are executing well.”
Porzingis has four straight 20-10 games and a career-best 11 double-doubles.
The Raptors started well on Friday and led 40-23 after the first quarter but the Wizards tied the game late in the fourth quarter.
“It was OK,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Obviously, I thought we came out with great energy. The ball was going in, (and) we were flying around really good. We had 25 deflections in the first half, which is a huge number, but that’s about where it stayed. I think the second half we were moving. We never really got into a rhythm on either end, defensively or offensively.”
Fred VanVleet, who missed the previous five games with a bruised right knee, had 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in his return Friday.
“For three of our top five, six guys to go out all in one game, it’s not very fortunate for our ball club, but (I) tried to get back out there with the guys and give us a better chance to win,” VanVleet said. “I’d like to think that I increased our chances of winning tonight, regardless of how ugly it was.”
The Mavericks defeated the Raptors 110-102 on Nov. 16 at Dallas.
–Field Level Media