The Dallas Mavericks reaped a comfortable victory in Rick Carlisle’s return to the American Airlines Center Arena by 105-132 with Luka Doncic leading the game of his team.
The young Slovenian point guard had 30 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 of 9 triples to get the 29th victory of the regular season. Currently the team led by Jason Kidd sits in playoff positions with three wins in the last four days.
“If he’s not the best player in the world, he’s on top right now,” Rick Carlisle said of Doncic.
Mavericks management, who knows a lot about accolades with Nowitzki’s recent 41 retirement, paid him a warm tribute via their video scoreboard. It was not for less. He spent 13 seasons in charge of his bench with a record of 555-478 and leading the Texan franchise to the only title in its history in 2011.
“This is a very special place for me. It’s a challenge to come back here,” admitted Carlisle.
Other highlights of the match were forward Reggie Bullock with 23 points and 6 of 8 triples starting as a reserve; and Maxi Kleber with a double-double to his credit (15 points and 14 rebounds).
“I know that I am capable of doing this. Now that he is out, I am the next player,” Bullock said about the recent loss of his partner Tim Hardaway Jr.
In the Pacers, Duane Washington Jr. stood out with 22 points, seconded by Domantas Sabonis who was on the verge of a new triple-double: 21 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists.
Kristaps Porzingis could only play 11 minutes of play due to severe pain in his right knee, which he had to undergo surgery in 2020 due to problems in his lateral meniscus. The Latvian left the floor in the second period and did not return to action as a precaution.
“He said he was a little worried,” Doncic admitted. “Hopefully it’s nothing, but if it hurts there’s no point in him playing,” he added.
(Cover photo: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)