Nuggets carry five-game win streak into matchup with Mavs

NBA Basketball

The Dallas Mavericks have been waiting for Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to click. They may not have to wait much longer.

Porzingis and Doncic look to build on their best outing of the young season when the Mavericks face the visiting Denver Nuggets on Monday.

Nikola Jokic is averaging 25.5 points and 13.7 rebounds to lead the Nuggets, who completed a 5-0 homestand with a 124-95 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Dallas has won four of its last five games and bounced back from a 10-point loss to the Chicago Bulls with an impressive 123-109 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Porzingis scored a season-high 32 points in the victory while Doncic recorded his 37th career triple-double with 32 points, a season-high 15 assists and 12 rebounds.

“We have that confidence in each other that we want to share the ball, we want to make the other team pay for the mismatches,” Porzingis said. “And we’re just taking advantage of it. I think the more we play this way, the more comfortable you’ll get and the better we’ll read each other.”

The 7-3 Porzingis, who has scored 54 points in his last two games, faces a tough matchup against Jokic. The league’s reigning MVP recorded 28 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Sunday’s win as Denver turned in another stellar defensive effort.

The Nuggets have held opponents under 100 points in 10 of their 13 games and are 9-1 in those contests.

One key contributor during the team’s winning streak has been rookie guard Bones Hyland, who made four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 18 points in Sunday’s victory.

“Bones has extreme confidence,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “He shoots into a big basket. He’s not afraid and I think that’s what the veteran players love about him. He’s talented. He’s young. He’s a work in progress, but he competes.”

Hyland has been asked to play a greater role while the Nuggets deal with injuries to two starters.

Guard Will Barton missed Sunday’s game due to lower back tightness and is listed as day-to-day. Forward Michael Porter Jr. has missed the last four games, and Malone said that he is out “for the foreseeable future” with lower back pain.

The Nuggets are hoping for a repeat of their first meeting against Dallas on Oct. 29, when they held the Mavericks to 29.5 percent shooting in a 106-75 rout.

Dallas forward Dorian-Finney Smith was held to two points on 0-of-7 shooting in the loss, but the sixth-year pro has played well of late.

Finney-Smith scored a season-high 15 points and had seven rebounds, three steals and three assists in Friday’s win over San Antonio.

After shooting 8 of 40 on 3-pointers through the team’s first eight games, Finney-Smith is 9 of 19 from beyond the arc in the past four games.

The Florida product is averaging 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Mavericks, who begin a four-game road trip after facing the Nuggets.

–Field Level Media

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