After taking it on the chin from the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks simply regrouped and used a stout defensive surge in the second half to knock out the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, 115-98, at the Barclays Center.
Luka Doncic scored 27 points, Kristaps Porzingis returned following a three-game absence and was a major factor at both ends of the court, and the Mavs held Brooklyn to just 34 points in the second half en route to snapping the Nets’ eight-game winning streak. In squaring their won-loss record at 16-16, the Mavs will conclude this three-game road trip on Monday in Orlando before ending the first half of the season with a Wednesday night home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Porzingis had missed the previous three contests with lower back tightness and hadn’t played since the Feb. 14 game against the Portland Trail Blazers. But he scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter, and also added three blocked shots in 26 minutes while being a huge presence.
“I thought KP was terrific,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He had good bounce, he had surprisingly good rhythm for a guy that hadn’t played in 10 days.
“I thought his rim protection and defense was the best that it’s been all year. It just shows the amount of work that he’s been putting in over the last 10 or 11 days.”
Porzingis was 7-of-13 from…