Kristaps Porzingis Scores 38 Points, Still Cares About Defense

Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz
Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS -- The defensive side of the ball has become a lost art in the NBA when teams are putting up close to 120 points every night. Dallas Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis still cares immensely about his performance on that end of the court, though.

Porzingis and the Mavericks secured a big road win without Luka Doncic against the Indiana Pacers on Monday. The 7-foot-3 Latvian scored a game-high 38 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. However, on several occasions after the game, he mentioned his frustration with not playing up to par defensively.

"I'm not too happy with my defense tonight," Porzingis said. "[Domantas] Sabonis scored too many times on me."

While he was talking about his frustrations, the Pacers were talking about how he tore them apart offensively.

"When he's hot, he's a special player," Sabonis told reporters. "It's tough, even if you switch. He's taller than everybody and can just shoot over you. Especially tonight, he was getting calls too, and it just made it a really difficult task."

The two bigs down low for the Pacers; Sabonis and Myles Turner, combined for fewer points than Porzinigs scored himself. Most stars would be ecstatic with this performance.This is not the typical sentiment set by one of the stars on an NBA team. Attention to detail such as this is what is going to make Porzingis an even better player.

"I have a lot of pride in my defense," Porzingis said. "I felt like Sabonis put some good moves on me tonight. I was like a half step late for a lot of those blocks," he said. "I know I can block a lot of those shots."

"I'm a little bit disappointed in that sense, but I'm glad we got the win, and I'm going to learn from this," he said.

The Mavericks will continue their stretch of games without Doncic and will need Porzingis to continue to excel on all 94 feet of the court.