Tim Hardaway Jr.

Kawhi Leonard dunks on Luka Doncic, scores 36 to spark Clippers win

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DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks brought back one big man but lost another Tuesday night, and in the end, they couldn’t rein in the reigning Finals MVP.

Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points, Landry Shamet hit two clutch 3-pointers late and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks 110-107 Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.

Leonard also had the dunk of the night going right over Luka Doncic.

Dallas ended a four-game winning streak, and more importantly, lost a key piece in center Dwight Powell just as they welcomed back Kristaps Porzingis.

Powell went down to a non-contact, right Achilles tendon injury in the first quarter, and though he will have an MRI on Wednesday, the team is fearing a worst-case scenario.

“Guys like him define the culture we want here,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “It doesn’t get much tougher than this, if it ends up being what we fear it might.”

Luka Doncic had 36 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Dallas. He scored 24 points in the second half to help rally the Mavericks after they trailed by double digits from late in the second quarter through most of the third.

Shamet helped the Clippers seize the game late in the fourth quarter. His 3 from the left wing to give Los Angeles a 100-98 lead with 2:48 to play. Montrezl Harrell added two free throws, then Shamet sank another 3 from straight-on to put the Clippers up by seven. He finished with 18 points.

“We just kind of found a way to win,” Shamet said. “We’d loved to keep that lead the whole game, but that’s not how it’s going to be. It’s a long season. We got to find different ways how to win like we did tonight.”

Leonard added 11 in the fourth quarter, including his only 3 of the game with 1:15 left, which put the Clippers up 108-100.

But Dallas rallied, as Doncic hit a 3 and Maxi Kleber a dunk. After a Clippers turnover, Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s potential tying 3 spun around and out. JaMychal Green missed two free throws for LA, but then Doncic missed two – the second intentionally – and Leonard sealed it with two free throws.

 

Dallas gets scare with Luka Doncic fall, concussion check; Tim Hardaway tweaks hamstring

AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker
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LOS ANGELES — It was a common foul from Dwight Howard, nothing malicious, but it caught Luka Doncic in the air and sent him to the ground. Hard.

Doncic got up, shot the free throws, then Dallas intentionally fouled Howard to stop play and get Doncic out of the game. He went straight to the locker room.

“Fouling Howard was our best execution all night,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wryly joked after his team lost to the Lakers Sunday.

Doncic went through the NBA’s concussion protocol but was cleared for return. He came out for second half warmups with a wrap brace for his lower back, but he stepped on the court and played the second half.

Doncic is officially questionable for the Mavericks game in Oklahoma City Tuesday.

So is Tim Hardaway Jr., who also went to the locker room in Los Angeles with an injury.

In the first quarter, Hardaway made a steal and had a breakaway, but he soon was grabbing his hamstring and left the game moments later.

“Got the steal, breakaway, went to dunk and I felt a little bit, but not too much,” Hardaway said after the game. “But then running back on defense it started getting a tad bit worse, uncomfortable. It’s a tough situation, I wanted to come back out and help my guys, I play through injuries a lot, but it sucked not to be able to go out there and help my guys out.”

Carlise described Hardaway as day-to-day but didn’t have many details.

“Too early to tell,” Hardaway said of a possible return. “I feel fine, I didn’t feel anything pop like that. Right now, got a lot of treatment done during the time they were playing. Time will tell, but right now I feel okay…

“You don’t want to be messing around with [a hamstring], you don’t want it to be more than it needs to be.” 

Three Things to Know: Luka Doncic makes game look easy in return, Dallas wins

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Luka Doncic makes the game look easy in return, Dallas wins. The best athletes make the game look easy. Roger Federer is graceful and makes tennis look effortless. Lionel Messi makes goal scoring look like something anyone can do, same with Mike Trout hitting a baseball 450 feet.

Luka Doncic returned from missing four games with a sprained ankle on Thursday night and looked rusty at points, winded late in the game, but also had moments where he reminded you just how easy the game can be for him.

Doncic finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists leading Dallas to a 102-98 win against San Antonio Thursday night. It wasn’t just him terrorizing guys like LaMarcus Aldridge on the pick-and-roll (which Doncic did a few times), it’s how he moves and understands spacing and when to make cuts that opens up the floor — and makes Seth Curry look like Pete Maravich.

The other key to this game? Dallas was 16-of-40 from three (40 percent). When Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. are hitting from deep (both hit three from beyond the arc in this game) the Mavs are hard to beat.

The Mavericks stayed afloat going 2-2 in the four games Doncic missed. Dallas will be battling Houston (and maybe Utah) the rest of the way for the four seed and home court in the first round, so easing back into a win against the slow-footed Spurs was good for Doncic. Now the Mavs head out to the West Coast for a Warriors then Lakers back-to-back. We’ll see if the game still looks easy against the length of the Lakers.

2) Brooklyn has historically bad shooting night, Spencer Dinwiddie blames “too much eggnog.” Every team has games they just need to flush and move on from over the course of 82; there are just those nights where nothing works.

Brooklyn took that to a new level Thursday night — the Nets were “laughably bad” in the words of point guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Consider the stats:

• The Nets 82 points were a new season low.

• Brooklyn shot 26.9 percent for the game (21-for-78), the worst any team has shot the ball in nearly eight years (January 2012)

• The Nets shot 13-of-50 from three, 26 percent.

• It was worse from two.

You got that right, Brooklyn made the fewest two pointers in a game in the shot clock era. And all that against a Knicks defense that has been bottom 10 in the league all season.

So Dinwiddie, how would you describe the night? Via Malika Andrews of ESPN:

“We were really, really bad. Like laughably bad. We shot really bad… Let’s go with too much eggnog. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

He was joking people, lighten up.

The Knicks took advantage behind 30 points from Julius Randle and cruised to a win.

3) It wasn’t pretty. At all. It was downright ugly at the end. But Minnesota finally won, snapping an 11-game losing streak. While in New York one team was being historically bad, the end of the game between the Kings and Timberwolves had both teams just playing terribly.

In the last 15 minutes of this game — the final five minutes of regulation plus the two overtimes — the Timberwolves and Kings combined to shoot 14-of-50 (28 percent) overall and 3-of-21 (14.3 percent) from three. And there were plays like this.

Eventually, Minnesota got a few buckets and held on for a 105-104 victory — the Timberwolves’ first win in December. Gorgui Dieng scored 21 points and Andrew Wiggins had 18 for Minnesota (playing without Karl-Anthony Towns due to a sprained left knee). It’s a win; they will take it.

But it wasn’t pretty.

Philadelphia drops third straight, this time to Luka-less Mavericks, 117-98

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PHILADELPHIA — Kristaps Porzingis had 22 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 27 points and the Dallas Mavericks handed the Philadelphia 76ers their second straight home loss, 117-98 on Friday night.

The Mavericks improved to 11-2 on the road despite playing without second-year star guard Luka Doncic. The 20-year-old missed his third straight game with a right ankle sprain. Doncic, one of the league leaders in minutes, points, rebounds and assists, is averaging 29.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists.

Joel Embiid had 33 points and 17 rebounds for Philadelphia, which lost its third in a row overall. The 76ers were booed for much of the night while falling to 14-2 at home. The 76ers suffered their first home loss on Wednesday, 108-104 to Miami in a contest in which the Heat stifled Philadelphia with a 2-3 zone.

Philadelphia couldn’t solve Dallas’ matchup 2-3 zone, either. Dallas held the 76ers to 29.4% shooting from long range; Philadelphia missed 24 of 34 3-pointers.

Dallas took control in the second quarter, going up by as many as 17. The Mavericks held am 88-77 lead entering the fourth.

Trey Burke, normally not in Philadelphia coach Brett Brown’s rotation, came off the bench and pulled Philadelphia within seven points, 94-87, with seven minutes remaining. But the Mavericks kept coming offensively, with a Hardaway 3 initiating an 11-6 spurt that ended with a jumper by Jalen Brunson that put Dallas ahead 108-93 with 3:22 left, leading to more boos and chants for the Philadelphia Eagles (the Eagles will host the Dallas Cowboys in an important NFC East divisional game across the street on Sunday).

Porzingis put an exclamation point on the victory with a driving, one-handed jam with 39.3 seconds left.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 48 not enough, Mavericks snap Bucks’ 18-game win streak

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MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks’ 18-game winning streak ended Monday night when Seth Curry and Kristaps Porzingis each scored 26 points to help the Dallas Mavericks hang on for a 120-116 victory even without star guard Luka Dončić.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 48 points and 14 rebounds, but got little support as Milwaukee lost for the first time since a 103-100 setback at Utah on Nov 8.

The winning streak was their longest since a franchise-record 20 consecutive victories by the 1970-71 championship team that featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor, and Oscar Robertson.

Dallas led comfortably for most of the fourth quarter until the final half-minute. Tim Hardaway Jr. made the second of two free throws to make it 119-114 with 7.6 seconds left. Antetokounmpo scored on a layup and was fouled, but missed the free throw. Sterling Brown grabbed the offensive rebound, but his putback was blocked by Porzingis.

Dončić sat out with a sprained right ankle, while the Bucks were missing injured point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Milwaukee trailed 86-76 entering the fourth quarter and got no closer than seven until the final 23 seconds. Dallas was 16 of 41 from 3-point range, including four 3s each by Curry and Porzingis. The Bucks went 11 of 41 from beyond the arc.

Kyle Korver added a season-high 17 points for Milwaukee, going 5 of 7 on 3-pointers.

Milwaukee trailed 69-67 when Antetokounmpo went to the bench with 6:32 left in the third quarter, having scored all 11 of the Bucks’ points in the period. Dallas led 75-69 when Antetokounmpo returned after a two-minute breather, and the Mavericks pushed the margin to 80-69.

The Bucks, who trailed by 14 early in the second quarter, finished the first half with an 11-4 run to pull to 59-56 at the break. Antetokounmpo had 21 first-half points, but the remainder of the team was just 14 of 41 from the field.

Dallas was 7 of 13 beyond the arc in the first quarter en route to a 36-22 lead entering the second period.