Doncic gets it done for Mavs, Clippers rally for win
By Agence France-Presse
Dallas rookie Luka Doncic matched his season high 35 points Saturday to lead the Mavericks to a 111-98 NBA victory over the Cavaliers in Cleveland.
Slovenian sensation Doncic, who won’t turn 20 until February 28, had 28 points by halftime — almost as many as the 30 points scored before the break by all of Cleveland’s starters.
“I just felt great,” said Doncic, who was cheered by a number of Slovenian flag-waving fans in Cleveland.
“It wasn’t my best second half for sure, but we got a win so that’s all that matters for me.”
Doncic had missed Thursday’s game in Detroit with a sore left ankle but showed no sign of injury as he scored 18 points in the first quarter — when he became the seventh player to score 1,000 points in the NBA before turning 20, following in the footsteps of such stars as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.
Doncic also pulled down 11 rebounds and handed out six assists.
Harrison Barnes scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter — his three-pointer with 4:34 to play putting the Mavs up 15 points as Dallas ended Cleveland’s two-game winning streak.
To make matters worse for the struggling Cavs, Cedi Osman limped off in the first half with a right ankle injury late in the first half.
In Detroit, Lou Williams came off the bench to score 18 of his game-high 39 points in the fourth quarter for the Los Angeles Clippers, who erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Pistons 111-101.
Home fans were raining boos on the Pistons by the end of the night.
Detroit scored just 14 points in the final period, a Williams floater giving the Clippers a 107-96 lead with 1:02 to play.
Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 24 points against his former team, but connected on just five of 17 shots over the last three quarters.
He made just three of 12 from three-point range.
The Clippers reserves out-scored the Pistons bench 80-17 as the Clippers posted the biggest comeback in team history.
“We just stayed the course,” Williams said. “We didn’t play our best basketball in the first half. We played our style the second half and gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game.”
Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo made all 17 of his free throws on the way to 37 points in the Bucks’ 131-115 victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Bucks as a whole were a perfect 24 for 24 from the foul line as they improved their league-leading record to 38-13.
Antetokounmpo added 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who notched a third straight win and remained two games ahead of Toronto atop the Eastern Conference.
Bradley Beal had 24 points for the Wizards, who are 9-7 since all-star point guard John Wall suffered a season-ending heel injury.