The Dallas Mavericks traded Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans just before last season's deadline. They realized KP was never going to be the second star next to Luka Doncic that they envisioned when the Mavs acquired him, so Dallas made the deal and embraced small ball. It resulted in a run to the conference finals.
Porzingis had not played for the Latvian National Team since EuroBasket 2017, but he finally had a healthy summer and the 7’3 big man decided to represent his country in World Cup qualifying. Latvia went 3-1 in the first stage, and they could all but lock up a spot in next year’s tournament with two victories.
Porzingis joined Bertans as Latvia dominated a tough Turkey squad XX-XX on Aug. 25. The Unicorn showcased all the traits that get fans excited, and Bertans could not miss on Thursday. Here is a closer look at their performance.
Kristaps Porzingis and Davis Bertans lift Latvia over Turkey in World Cup qualifying
KP put on an absolute show in his return for his national team. He was a force around the rim and had his outside shot locked as the Unicorn produced 22 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and six blocks in just 22.1 minutes of action. Porzingis hit three 3-pointers and was a force on both ends of the floor.
Davis Bertans had his shooting locked in on Thursday. Porzingis was drawing plenty of defensive attention, which left the Mavericks forward free to fire. He had 17 points on six of eight shooting from the field, including drilling five 3-pointers. Bertans also had three assists, two rebounds, and one steal in 18.3 minutes in the win over Turkey.
Latvia could not miss on Aug. 25 as they knocked off Turkey in a crucial World Cup qualifier. They shot over 60 percent from the field and made 20 of 35 from 3-point range in the victory. It was an impressive performance. Latvia did not qualify for EuroBasket, so they have just one more game left this summer.
Kristaps Porzingis and Davis Bertans will be back in action on Sunday against Great Britain at noon central time. Fans will not want to miss the game as Latvia looks to move one step closer to qualifying for the FIBA World Cup for the first time.