Luka Doncic dazzles with career night from 3-point range to lead Mavericks past Blazers
DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic's pursuit of Jason Kidd's triple-double record in Dallas will have to wait. This night was about the 20-year-old sensation's 3-point shooting.
Doncic drained a career-best eight 3s on his way to 35 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 29 and the Mavericks beat Portland 120-112 on Friday night to avoid getting swept at home by the Trail Blazers.
Doncic had eight rebounds and seven assists in the young Slovenian's first chance to tie Kidd's Dallas career record of 21 triple-doubles.
As long as the next one comes before Feb. 28, Doncic will have at least three times as many triple-doubles before age 21 as the next person on the list — Magic Johnson with seven.
"It’s crazy," owner Mark Cuban said before the game. "To give J-Kidd some credit, the game's a lot faster now, there’s a lot more points being scored. So it’s all relative. What he’s accomplished is just phenomenal."
The 3 that topped Doncic's previous career best of seven was a punctuating 27-footer for an 11-point lead in the final minute.
"We were locked in at the end of the game," said Doncic, who was 8-of-12 from 3 to help the Mavericks finish 20-of-47 from beyond the arc compared to 9-of-30 for Portland, which was coming off an impressive win in Houston.
Damian Lillard scored 34 points and Carmelo Anthony had 22 for the Blazers, who lost guard C.J. McCollum to a sprained left ankle in the first half. Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 18 rebounds.
The Mavericks were without Doncic's European sidekick, Kristaps Porzingis, for the 10th consecutive game because of right knee soreness. The 7-foot-3 Latvian was ruled out early in the day after being a late scratch Wednesday in Sacramento.
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The Mavs kept Portland at a safe distance in the closing minutes after losing 121-119 in Dallas in October when the Blazers got a key reversal on a challenge of a foul call against Lillard in the final seconds.
The Blazers won another challenge to reverse a foul call on Whiteside while trailing by six late in the fourth quarter, but it was right before Portland missed five straight shots in the final three minutes.
"Every time we play Dallas, we end up having one of these games," coach Terry Stotts said. "Very competitive, teams get leads and some other team comes back. Doncic is a great player and when he’s making his 3s, even better."
Lillard had just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in the fourth quarter — after playing half the game without McCollum when he was questionable himself before the game because of an illness.
"Obviously, I think any time you are under the weather, a little bit sick, it’s going to have an effect on you on the floor," said Lillard, who was 13-of-25 from the field and added 10 assists. "But I didn’t go into the game thinking like, 'Oh, I’m sick.' It was never an option for me to lean on that."
Before Doncic's definitive 3, Hardaway hit one with the Blazers within five with four minutes remaining after they had trailed by 17 late in the third quarter. He was 9-of-16 from the field and 5-of-8 from long range.
"Hardaway was great all night, great on both sides of the ball," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Aggressive, dialed in, high level of focus and concentration. The shot-making was brilliant."
TIP-INS: Blazers — Mario Hezonja returned after missing two games with a back contusion. He scored seven points in 19 minutes. ... Gary Trent Jr. was ruled out by illness in the second half.
Mavericks — Doncic was called for a flagrant foul on what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow to the face of Whiteside when Doncic was driving in the third quarter. Doncic wasn't pleased with the decision on the review, but Whiteside missed both free throws. ... Doncic got fouled on made 3-pointers twice in the first half, missing the free throw the first time before making the second one for the four-point play.
ANOTHER INJURY: The Blazers will anxiously await word of how long McCollum will be sidelined. They've played all season with center Jusuf Nurkic, who averaged a double-double last season. Another key big man, Zach Collins, has been out since getting injured in the first game against Dallas — the third of the season.
"Usually the second day’s the worst, so see how it feels tomorrow," said McCollum, who was injured on a drive when his foot landed on Dallas forward Maxi Kleber's foot. "Get some treatment tonight, try to compress it and see how it feels."
CLUTCH CURRY: Seth Curry scored 16 points, including the only two field goals for Dallas in a six-minute stretch of the fourth quarter. The buckets came half a minute apart, both answering baskets that pulled Portland within five points. The Blazers never got closer. Source: usatoday.com