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 three-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 yesterday 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 February 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 three 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 eight of 12 from three to help the Mavericks finish 20 of 47 from beyond the arc compared to nine 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 CJ 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 seven-foot-three Latvian was ruled out early in the day after being a late scratch on Wednesday in Sacramento.
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 one-of-six 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 three, 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 nine of 16 from the field and five of eight from long range.