Sports Luka Doncic-led Mavericks beat Pistons 131-113 for 50th win
Doncic-less Mavs pull away, beat last-place Rockets 110-91
DALLAS (AP) — Jalen Brunson scored 28 points and Spencer Dinwiddie added 26 with Luka Doncic resting a sore right ankle, and the Dallas Mavericks overwhelmed the Houston Rockets in the second half for a 110-91 victory Wednesday night. The victory pulled Dallas even with Utah at 45-28 for the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Jazz, who lost 125-97 at Boston, currently hold the tiebreaker over the Mavericks. They play Sunday in Dallas.
DETROIT (AP) — Luka Doncic has helped the Dallas Mavericks win 50 games, a relatively rare feat lately for the franchise.
The All-Star guard had 26 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds to lead Dallas in a 131-113 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
The Mavericks reached the 50-win mark for the first time in seven years, and just the second since winning their only NBA title.
“It’s a great accomplishment," coach Jason Kidd said. “The guys in that locker room can’t take that lightly because it’s not easy to do."
Dallas is 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2011, when they went on to win the NBA title. The franchise is set up to earn home-court advantage in the playoffs, for the first time since Kidd was their point guard during the championship season, after starting 2022 with a losing record.
Dinwiddie thrives with fresh start, lifts playoff-bound Mavs
DALLAS (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie looked a little puzzled at first over a question after a recent game about what changed when his scoreless first quarter was followed by 11 points in the second. Once the Dallas guard had clarity, he flashed a quick smile. The answer was easy. Luka Doncic scored 16 points in that first quarter. “Oh, Luka was on a heater,” Dinwiddie said. “You get out of the man's way.” New to the Mavericks after a trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards, Dinwiddie didn't need any time to figure out that part of the formula for a franchise with the 23-year-old Doncic shining as the brightest star — by far.
“I think it’s pretty impressive," Doncic said. “We started the season kind of slow. I’m proud of how we played and hopefully we get to 52 (wins)."
Jalen Brunson had 24 points for the Mavericks, who have won five of their last six to build momentum going into the playoffs next week.
Rookie of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham had 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Pistons, who had won three straight to match what was their longest winning streak of the season.
Even with the game out of reach in the final minutes, coach Dwane Casey had his starters on the floor.
“That’s going to be a top team in the West," Casey said. “I wanted them to feel it and experience it."
Dallas led by as much as eight in the first, but trailed 34-32 after Doncic and Cunningham each had their fourth assist over the last 3.4 seconds of the quarter.
Alex Burks, R.J. Barrett lead Knicks past Pistons, 104-102
DETROIT (AP) — Alec Burks hit a 3-pointer for New York's final points and finished off Detroit with a last-second steal in the Knicks' 104-102 victory over the Pistons on Sunday. R.J. Barrett led New York with 21 points, Julian Randle had 20 and Burks and Immanuel Quickly had 18 each. Trailing by two, the Pistons called a timeout to set up a final play with 6.6 seconds left. Killian Hayes inbounded the ball to Cade Cunningham, but Burks stripped the ball as he tried to drive. “That's Cade's future — he's going to be facing a lot of those situations as he moves forward in the league,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.
The Mavs moved back ahead in the second quarter and led 65-58 at halftime with Doncic scoring 16 points, making six assists.
Doncic was called for his fourth foul at the 8:05 mark of the third. Kidd left him in the game and it turned out to be a wise move as Doncic was dominant, making a 3-pointer and assist that put the Mavs ahead 93-77 late in the quarter.
Dallas didn't have any trouble keeping its comfortable cushion in the fourth, finishing with 15 3-pointers on 33 shots beyond the arc.
“They do a great job of spreading out and making 3-point shots," Casey said. “You make one mistake and they make you pay. They’re a great offensive team, exactly what we want to be in terms of moving the basketball and knocking down 3s,"
Kidd is among the many marveling that Tiger Woods is teeing off at the Masters on Thursday morning, 14 months after a car crash left him in a hospital bed for three months.
Doncic's 35 points, 13 assists send Mavs past Cavs 120-112
CLEVELAND (AP) — With a large, loud contingent of Slovenia fans on hand, Luka Doncic wanted to give his countrymen a show. The Cavaliers couldn't stop it. “When all the people come to see you, you want to put on a show," Doncic said. He didn't disappoint. Doncic scored 35 points, added 13 assists and just missed another triple-double, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 120-112 win on Wednesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were without star rookie forward Evan Mobley. Dorian Finney-Smith added a career-high 28 points — many of them off passes from Doncic — for Dallas, which came in fourth in the Western Conference and locked up one of the top six playoff spots.
“What Tiger is doing has already broken the internet,” Kidd said. “If he’s in the running for winning it, he definitely will shut down the internet. What he’s done to just come back, is incredible. I think everyone will be watching.”
Mavericks: Reserve Sterling Brown missed the game for personal reasons. ... Forward Maxi Kleber (right ankle) missed a second straight game. ... The Mavs have won five straight against Detroit, winning each game by double digits.
Pistons: The banged-up, rebuilding team was without several injured players Marvin Bagley (hip), Hamidou Diallo (finger), Jerami Grant (calf), Cory Joseph (back), Rodney McGruder (hip) and rested Kelly Olynyk. “I think we have a couple of coaches, and we are ready to go," Casey joked. ... Faces in the crowd included Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, sitting with former players Mateen Cleaves and Mat Ishbia, who has courtside seats.
Mavericks: Close the regular season at home against Portland on Friday night and San Antonio on Sunday.
Pistons: End the regular season against Milwaukee on Friday night at home and at Philadelphia on Sunday.
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Larry Lage, The Associated Press
NBA playoffs 2022 live updates: Luka Doncic listed as 'day-to-day' but is out for Game 1 .
The NBA playoff field is set, and Saturday begins the first round of the postseason. The Utah Jazz visit the Dallas Mavericks at 1 p.m. ET.With the final two playoff spots determined with Friday night’s play-in games, the chase for the NBA championship officially begins with four playoff games on Saturday.