As the Dallas Mavericks prepare for Friday’s 7 p.m. road game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center, Dwight Powell couldn’t help but reflect on Wednesday’s unexpected 100-91 road victory at New Orleans.
The Mavericks defeated the Pelicans while sitting four starters, and Powell wound up producing the best overall game of his career.
He’s been great for us all year long, every time he gets an opportunity to play.
Chandler Parsons on Dwight Powell
The 6-foot-11 second-year forward/center scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked a career-high-tying two shots, stole two passes and played a career-high 30 minutes. He was a reason the Mavericks pulled off the stunner.
It was the third career double-double for Powell, who has given the Mavericks the athletic presence in the low post they’ve been lacking.
Powell’s production against the Pelicans came a night after he didn’t play in the Mavs’ 117-116 double-overtime win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
And he also wasn’t on the floor against New Orleans with the Mavericks’ best players. Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams sat out due to some much-needed rest from Tuesday’s game.
But that didn’t alter Powell’s approach against the Pelicans.
“For the balance of my career I’ve always tried to maintain kind of the same professionalism as far as staying ready,” Powell said. “To be honest, I was ready at any moment the last game [against the Kings] and tried to stay ready this game.”
Powell’s performance had extra luster because he spent time guarding Pelicans superstar forward Anthony Davis, which didn’t unnoticed by his teammates.
He came in and played his game, he shot the jump shot when it was there and he was extremely effective defensively.
Guard Devin Harris on Dwight Powell.
“He’s been great for us all year long, every time he gets an opportunity to play,” forward Chandler Parsons said. “With getting a [Did Not Play on Tuesday] night and then sticking with it and making some jumpers [Wednesday] and rebounding and blocking shots.
“And he saw some time on AD.”
On describing Powell’s defense on Davis, guard Devin Harris said: “He did a great job. He challenged him, he made shots when they were there, he made the smart play and he kept it simple.”
For Powell, simplicity is the name of the game. He stays within his lane, and that, in a nutshell, is why his game has flourished.
Sure, the double-doubles are pleasant for Powell to see. But that’s not the stat line that is of great significance to him.
“The most important thing for me really is the win, and to be able to get Coach [Rick Carlisle] the confidence in us that we can come out and step up for those guys when they needed some rest, because if you look at the schedule it’s a pretty hectic month,” Powell said.
“So, those guys needed to take a night off, and to be able to get a win on that same night is important for us to kind of keep the flow going.”
Harris wanted to point out Powell’s importance in the Mavericks defeating the Pelicans and improving to 21-15 on the season.
“He came in and played his game, he shot the jump shot when it was there, and he was extremely effective defensively,” Harris said. “He’s been having some trouble with fouling, and I thought he did a great job of just staying out of your way and contesting [shots] without fouling.
“I know he’s been working on that with some of the guys in practice, and I’m just happy he got back out there and just played the way he’s capable.”