|Powell stepping up for Mavs as road trip rolls to Sacramento|
Dwight Powell is supposed to be a role player, an offensive filler in a Dallas Mavericks attack led by Luka Doncic.
However, the 28-year-old forward has been much more than that over the past six games, and he looks to notch another big outing when the Mavericks visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Powell shot 9-for-9 and scored 21 points in 24 minutes on Tuesday as Dallas routed the host Golden State Warriors 124-97. He also hit 9 of 9 shots last month against the Minnesota Timberwolves while scoring a season-high 24 points.
Both perfect performances fell just shy of the team mark held by Brandan Wright, who connected on all 10 of his attempts in a 107-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on April 4, 2014.
Naturally, Powell was more pleased with Dallas winning its second straight game than his individual exploits. The former Stanford star is hoping for a 2-0 trip in Northern California.
"The win is great, but it's a quick, jam-packed road trip, so we're on the bus ready to go for another one tomorrow," Powell told reporters.
Powell's 21-point outing followed up a 19-point performance Saturday in Dallas' convincing 109-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, and it marked his fifth double-digit performance in the past six games. Powell is averaging 15 points during the stretch while knocking down 36 of 44 shots -- a stellar 81.8 percent.
"His rolls and attacks and offensive-rebound crashes are among the most efficient in the game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "He's playing at a high level."
Part of Powell's sudden offensive splurge is due to the absence of power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who may return from an eight-game absence on Wednesday. Originally out due to a right knee ailment, Porzingis also has been battling an illness.
Doncic added 20 points and eight rebounds as Dallas controlled the game against the Warriors from the outset. The Mavericks led by 18 at halftime and cruised to the finish.
"I like the way we played," Carlisle said. "I liked our concentration, focus and effort defensively. We made enough plays offensively to get out of here alive."
Sacramento visited Dallas on Dec. 8, and the Kings notched a 110-106 win.
Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica scored a then-career-high-tying 30 points, a figure he topped by scoring 34 on Monday in a 114-112 loss to visiting Orlando. Bjelica also connected on a career-best eight 3-pointers versus the Magic.
Even so, the big effort didn't produce a victory as Orlando's Aaron Gordon converted a three-point play with 1.1 seconds left to send the Kings to their 11th setback in the past 14 games.
"When you lose like this, it's not a great feeling," Bjelica said afterward. "We keep losing the games, and we need to fix that. We need to open the game like we finished the last five minutes."
Sacramento power forward Marvin Bagley III (foot) returned from an eight-game absence and recorded 18 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
"He looked good, especially on defense," Bjelica said of Bagley. "On offense, everybody knows he can score. His defense was good, and we're very happy he is back with us."
The return of Bagley comes at a good time for the Kings, as they learned that starting power forward Richaun Holmes (shoulder) will miss at least two or three more weeks. Holmes is averaging 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds.
"It's good to be back out there playing," Bagley said afterward. "I wanted for sure to get that win. You win some, you lose some. On to the next."
Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox had a stellar game in defeat Monday. He matched his career high of 31 points to go along with 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Sacramento reserve shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle) is expected to miss his sixth straight game.
The Kings have won the past four meetings with the Mavericks and 10 of the past 13.
--Field Level Media