NBA: Doncic, Hardaway carry Mavs over Knicks

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 04 2022 11:00 AM

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on October 19, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Jim Poorten, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on October 19, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Jim Poorten, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP


LOS ANGELES -- Dallas star Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr took it to the New York Knicks in the third quarter on Saturday on the way to a 121-100 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Doncic scored 30 points and Hardaway added 28 against his former team, the two combining for 36 points in the third quarter alone when the Mavs outscored the Knicks 41-15 to take control of the contest.

Both Doncic, with 19 third-quarter points, and Hardaway, with 17, outscored the Knicks in the period -- a stat-line that Mavs coach Jason Kidd called "pretty impressive."

Five of Hardaway's eight three-pointers came in the third quarter, his fifth from beyond the arc in the period giving Dallas a 10-point lead.

Doncic, the league's leading scorer, had a lackluster 11 points in the first quarter but turned up the heat after the interval.

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"Obviously the first half I wasn't really participating," said Doncic, who added eight rebounds, seven assists and three blocked shots. 

"It was a challenge to come out of the locker room (in the second half) with more energy and better everything. The way we played the third quarter, you saw that we can really play basketball," Doncic added. 

"It was really enjoyable being out there with the team, especially in the third quarter."

Jalen Brunson, who departed Dallas for the Knicks in free agency after last season, finished with just 13 points.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 24, but with the Mavs dialing in on him defensively, he scored just three in the second half.

Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Bucks earned a bounce-back win despite the absence of two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, beating the Hornets 105-96 in Charlotte.

A day after a hard-fought 133-129 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were inactive, as was Khris Middleton -- whose return from off-season wrist surgery is still being carefully managed.

Antetokounmpo, who scored 40 points against the Lakers, sat out with a sore left knee. Holiday was listed as out with a left knee contusion. 

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he held them out considering "the quick turnaround and with the back-to-back, a little bit of an early game, and just taking into account the big picture."

"They're probably not happy with me, but I think, hopefully, they know we're always trying to think about the big picture and trying to keep them as healthy and kind of durable for the entirety of the season," Budenholzer said.

Bobby Portis stepped up to lead the Bucks with 20 points. Jordan Nwora added 17 points and Brook Lopez and Jevon Carter scored 14 apiece.

Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 26 points. Jalen McDaniels scored 21 but the Hornets' three-game home winning streak ended.

- Sabonis shines for Kings -

In Los Angeles, Sacramento center Domantas Sabonis connected on 10 of his 11 shots from the field on the way to a game-high 24 points, as the Kings whipped the Clippers 123-96.

Sabonis was a perfect six-for-six with two three-pointers in the opening quarter, scoring 15 points as the Kings took a 38-24 lead after the first period.

They never trailed after that, dealing the injury-hit Clippers their biggest defeat of the season.

Sabonis added five rebounds and six assists. Keegan Murray scored 23 points and D'Aaron Fox chipped in 14.

Brandon Boston scored 18 points off the bench to lead the Clippers, who were again without injured stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard along with Luke Kennard and Norman Powell.

The Kings are thriving under new coach Mike Brown and at 12-9 are fifth in the Western Conference.

But Sabonis admitted it was a surprise to hear fans in Los Angeles chanting "Light the Beam!" a reference to the purple laser show the team puts on after home wins in Sacramento.

The beam has featured more prominently so far this season than many expected.

"It's crazy that we're on the road at one of the best teams in the West and we're hearing that," he said. "It's pretty cool."

© Agence France-Presse