The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, they secured a second-round berth for themselves and ended Luka Doncic’s season early for the second consecutive year.
As is typically the case when a squad gets bounced from the playoffs, a post-mortem has taken place over the past 24 hours.
Where did Dallas go wrong?
One obvious problem area that needs to be addressed is Kristaps Porzingis.
It is something of an open secret at this point that Porzingis and Doncic don’t like each other.
The question is: can this relationship be salvaged.
Based on a recent report by ESPN NBA insider Tim MacMahon, the answer is increasingly looking like ‘no.’
According to MacMahon, there is one particular thing that Porzingis deeply resented about both Doncic and the Mavericks as a whole.
“Porzingis has been frustrated, often feeling more like an afterthought than a co-star as Doncic dominates the ball and the spotlight,” he wrote.
“Porzingis frequently made thinly veiled references during his postgame media availabilities, such as saying the ‘ball actually moved tonight’ after high-scoring performances or stating that the offense didn’t involve him on low-scoring nights.”
To be fair, against the Clippers Porzingis averaged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 33.3 minutes per game. His usage rate of 15.7 percent was completely dwarfed by Doncic’s 39.1 percent usage rate.
It’s hard to get into a flow when you don’t get the ball.
That said – Porzingis’ injury-prone nature doesn’t help matters any. He played in just 43 games this year after recovering from a partially torn meniscus he suffered in the playoffs last year. Between that injury and his 2019 torn ACL the 25-year-old’s mobility is clearly diminished and has turned him into a massive liability on defense.
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
The Mavericks tried very hard to deal Porzingis before this year’s trade deadline, but nobody would bite for one major reason.
What’s clear at this juncture is that Doncic and Porzingis is not a partnership that can work long-term.
How will it ultimately end? Time will tell.