Stephen Curry drops 57 but it’s not enough as Doncic, Mavericks get win

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DALLAS — Luka Doncic couldn’t top Stephen Curry’s shoulder shimmy, or the second-best scoring night of the Golden State star’s career.

The Dallas sensation led his Mavericks to victory, though, and helped them stop a six-game home losing streak.

Doncic tied his career high with 42 points in a scoring duel with Curry, leading the Mavericks to an entertaining 134-132 win over the Warriors on Saturday.

The prime-time matchup on national TV lived up to the billing, with Curry hitting a season-high 11 3-pointers on the way to 57 points. The only time the two-time MVP scored more in a game was when he had 62 points about a month ago in a win over Portland.

Doncic was 12 of 23 from field, 7 for 12 from 3-point range and 11 of 14 on free throws with 11 assists and seven rebounds as the Mavericks ended a six-game home losing streak, the second-longest in Rick Carlisle’s 13 seasons as coach.

“What a display of basketball out there,” Carlisle said. “Just amazing playmaking and shot-making the entire night. Curry and Doncic were spectacular. Both teams played with a lot of heart and a lot of joy. Great thing to see.”

The Mavericks took an 18-2 lead two nights after a 31-point loss to the Warriors on the same court, but the 16-point cushion was gone by the third quarter — not long after Curry’s shoulder shimmy when he drained a 36-footer from the Mavericks midcourt logo.

Curry was 11 of 19 from 3 — finishing two made 3s shy of his career high — and made all eight of his free throws. He was 19 of 31 overall with five assists.

“He’s never played better,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I’ve never seen him like this. He’s always obviously been an incredible shooter. He looks stronger. It’s almost unfathomable, what he’s doing out there.”

Draymond Green matched his season high of 15 assists from the first of the two straight games two nights earlier with the Warriors again missing all their traditional centers because of injuries.

Curry got the Warriors within a point with a three-point play with 28 seconds remaining, but Doncic assisted on a 3-pointer by Maxi Kleber for a 134-130 lead with 5.6 seconds left.

With Curry sitting early in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks got their lead back to double digits. The Warriors were within four when Curry missed a 3 with a little more than a minute remaining, then Doncic connected from long range to tie his previous career high of 42 points and put Dallas up 131-124.

Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Josh Richardson scored 17 for Dallas.

Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Kent Bazemore had 20 for the Warriors.

The duel between Curry and Doncic got going when they traded 3-pointers late in the first half. They did it again early in the second half, when Doncic hit another one after a Golden State turnover.

It wasn’t all 3s for Curry. He pump-faked behind the arc in the third quarter, sending Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith flying by before dribbling past them and hitting a 17-footer.

Curry hit another 3 the next time down, and one from long range by Wiggins gave the Warriors their first lead at 96-95 with four minutes left in the third.

Draymond Green not expected to miss any games, Warriors to handle discipline ‘internally’

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Draymond Green is not expected to miss any games for punching teammate Jordan Poole during an altercation during practice, Warriors GM Bob Myers said Thursday.

That’s not to say he is escaping any punishment, it will just be handled internally, Myers said.

Green showed up at Chase Center and apologized to the team and then left, he did not practice with the Warriors, reports Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Draymond apologized to the team this morning, Jordan was there in the room, I was there in room with the team, the coaches, the players and we heard that,” Myers said.

Whatever punishment the Warriors are handing down to Green, it will not include missing games, Myers said.

Coach Steve Kerr added, “I expect [Green] to return on Saturday and get back at it.” That implies a couple of days suspension, likely with a hefty fine.

Kerr was also quick to shoot down the rumors of Poole having an “attitude” around camp as he comes up on a massive contract extension. Stephen Curry echoed that, saying those reports are “absolute BS.”

The Warriors have seen their fair share of Draymond Green incidents over the years, and as a locker room and franchise they know how to move on from it. While this made headlines, the Warriors will shrug it off and move on.

Miami, Milwaukee have their eyes on Jae Crowder

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The Heat and Bucks don’t just have interest in the same player. They’re looking to replace the same player.

Two years ago, P.J. Tucker helped Milwaukee win their first championship in a half-century. Last season, he helped Miami lock up the top seed in the East and make the Conference Finals.

With Tucker in Philadelphia, both the Heat and Bucks are looking to fill the void with a different lockdown enforcer that can stretch the floor.

Jae Crowder and the Suns agreed that he won’t participate in practice as the team looks to accommodate his trade request. In a recent ESPN+ article, Zach Lowe made it clear that both Miami and Milwaukee are interested in pursuing a trade for Crowder.

“The Bucks have internal interest in Crowder as that Tucker replacement after getting into the recent Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic discussions, sources say. They will search all season for one more piece.

“The Heat have interest in Crowder too, sources say, but finding matching salary is tough until Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo become trade-eligible in the winter. Martin might start, and the Heat are optimistic Oladipo can play a huge role.”

Grant and Bogdanovic were traded to Portland and Detroit, respectively. The Heat may struggle to find a trade that works since Phoenix probably won’t want to take on Duncan Robinson’s contract. Dedmon, Martin and Oladipo will become trade eligible on January 15th.

Crowder has a history with the Heat, as he helped them make the NBA Finals in the bubble. He helped Phoenix make the NBA Finals two seasons ago and then helped them finish with the best record in the NBA last season.

LeBron says Wembanyama is an ‘alien’ and a ‘generational talent’

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There was a time when LeBron James was the “it” kid coming for the NBA — a freakish athlete like nobody in the league had seen. A player the size of Karl Malone with the quickness and skills of an elite point guard.

Now the “it” guy is Victor Wembanyama, the 7’4″ mold-breaking big out of France — and LeBron is impressed.

“Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, well he’s more like an alien,” LeBron said after the Lakers’ preseason loss to the Suns in Las Vegas. “I’ve never seen, no one’s ever seen anyone as tall as he is, but it’s fluid and as graceful as on the floor…

“His ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot step-back jumpers on the post, step-back 3s, catch-and-shoot 3s, block shots. He’s for sure a generational talent. And hopefully he continues to stay healthy, that’s the most important for him personally, and as you could tell he loves the game. He was smiling a lot while playing the game last night. I think it was the two best players in the draft on the floor last night and they both did their thing.”

Wembanyama is projected to be the No.1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, just ahead of point guard Scoot Henerson, who scored 28 points with nine assists of his own leading his G-League Ignite to a win over Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92. Wembanyama scored 37 points in the game, hit 7-of-11 shots from 3, had five blocks and a few other shots changed because of his length (7’11” wingspan) and the threat of his block.

Wembanyama and Henderson face off again tonight in a second game between the Ignite and Metropolitans 92 just outside Las Vegas in Henderson (9:30 p.m. ET on NBATV).

Wembanyama will play, with his agent telling ESPN there are no plans to shut the No.1 pick down to avoid injury and protect his draft status. “He’ll never agree to that. He wants to compete and get better,” Bouna Ndiaye said.

LeBron looked back on his time as the “it” player and said simply, “thank got there wasn’t social media” at the time. It’s a different world now, but game still recognizes game.

And LeBron recognizes it in Wembanyama.

LeBron tells Adam Silver he wants to own expansion team in Vegas

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The odds are good that Las Vegas will get an NBA expansion team. Eventually.

But when it happens, LeBron James wants to be in the Vegas ownership group — and he made that pitch directly to Adam Silver after the Lakers exhibition game in Sin City against the Suns on Wednesday.

“I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe. But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players,” James said, via the Associated Press. “So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

Silver is in the United Arab Emirates, which is hosting an exhibition game between the Bucks and Hawks this week. But LeBron doesn’t need to worry about Silver seeing this request. He probably already has.

The widely held belief around the league is that the NBA owners will not entertain expansion until a new CBA and a new television/streaming rights deal are locked in (driving up the franchise prices), things that will take a couple of years. Expansion talk may come after that, and maybe there will be two new NBA teams by the end of the decade.

“We are not discussing that at this time,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of expansion last June. “As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.”

If and when expansion happens, Las Vegas, along with Seattle, are the clear frontrunners to land teams. Most importantly, both cities have NBA-ready stadiums and fan bases to support the franchises, and their mayors are on board.

LeBron would be the face of an ownership group. While LeBron himself is a billionaire, Silver had called reports of a $2.5 billion expansion fee per team “low.” And that’s not including all the other start-up costs that come with a team.

But if the NBA is coming to Las Vegas, don’t be shocked if LeBron is involved.