Mavs off to a good start, beat Wizards 108-100

Photos by Mike Kolch & Dominic Ceraldi

The Dallas Mavericks started slow Wednesday night, but rebounded in time to ride the two-headed monster of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to a 108-100 victory over the Washington Wizards in the season opener for both teams at American Airlines Center.

The new-look Mavs will next play in New Orleans om Friday before returning home to host Portland on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Picking up where he left off last year when he was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, Doncic led the Mavs with 34 points and nine rebounds, Porzingis collected 23 points and four rebounds, and Dorian Finney-Smith and Justin Jackson tallied 10 points apiece.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks marveled at the prospects of what the Mavs can do with Porzingis and Doncic on the floor together.

“That’s a tough matchup right there, and they’re going to compete with all the great teams in the West,” Brooks said. “Those two guys give you a chance to win every night. Very skilled — high skilled.

“They need some time to play along with one another. But I think those two guys give you a chance every night.”

The Mavs led by as much as 23 points before the Wizards inched to within seven points (104-97) with 1:19 to go in the game. But Porzingis brought down the house when he slammed home a dunk via  feed from Jalen Brunson, and Doncic added a pair of free throws to give the Mavs an 11-point lead with 37.1 seconds left.

Dallas took control of the game when a 3-pointer by Doncic and a running banker by Seth Curry completed a brisk 23-6 run and padded their lead to 44-31 with 5:58 remaining in the first half. After Finney-Smith drilled a 3-pointer, Doncic worked inside for a basket, then ended the first half with chants of MVP after he completed a three-point play to give the Mavs a 62-48 advantage.

“Luka’s probably one of the best passing players that we’ve seen in a long time,” Brooks said. “He makes passes that normally it takes some players four or five years to truly understand all of the reads.

“But he’s been able to do that where some of his diagonally passes in the deep corners, you can’t teach it. “

Porzingis got off to a rough start, missing his first four shots before scoring on a short jumper to bring Dallas within 22-17 of the Wizards. Later on, Porzingis closed out the first quarter with a long 3-pointer as the Mavs narrowed the deficit to 25-24.

Brooks marveled at the prospects of what the Mavs can do with Porzingis and Doncic.

“That’s a tough matchup right there, and they’re going to compete with all the great teams in the West,” Brooks said. “Those two guys give you a chance to win every night. Very skilled — high skilled.

“They need some time to play along with one another. But I think those two guys give you a chance every night.”

Courtesy Dallas Mavericks