SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On a night when Luka Doncic set a career high for assists, one of his early passes wound up in the stands.
All he could do was watch it and chuckle as he ran back down the court.
“It was a bad pass,” Doncic said of his cross-court throw. “I was laughing. He was open. I should have hit him. That was a very bad pass.”
Doncic had 25 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists for his NBA-leading 12th triple-double, and the Mavericks held off a late run to beat the Sacramento Kings 127-123 on Wednesday.
Seth Curry scored 21 points off the bench as Dallas won its third straight despite the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, who missed his ninth consecutive game. Dwight Powell added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.
“This has been a hard team for us to play, difficult matchups,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our starters, our bench, everybody contributed in a big way.”
Playing the second half of a back-to-back following a 27-point win over Golden State, the Mavericks scored 71 points in the first half and handed the Kings their third straight loss.
Doncic sparked Dallas with a big third quarter when he had 11 points and six rebounds. He also made a cross-court pass similar to the one he airmailed earlier in the game.
That helped the Mavs stretch a four-point lead to 108-93. Doncic finished with his 20th career triple-double despite going 0 for 5 from beyond the arc.
“Obviously, not as good as I can play. I have to practice those 3s,” Doncic said. “They were doubling me every time, and I like it. Basketball is five players so somebody’s going to be open if they double me.”
Doncic joined Jason Kidd as the only Dallas players to have at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in one game.
“These numbers are just crazy,” Carlisle said as he looked at the stat sheet. “It’s hard to fathom. They’re trapping him all over the court every time down. He’s both beating the traps and playing beautifully out of the traps.”
De’Aaron Fox had 27 points and 12 assists for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield scored 25 apiece.
Sacramento beat Dallas 110-106 in December without Fox or Marvin Bagley III. Both were in the lineup this time, but the outcome was vastly different.
“We got stops but we let them come up with the 50-50 ball,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “It should be pretty clear until we can get out there and play that hard, at that pace and still keep a defensive mindset, there's going to be a lot of ups and downs.”
The Kings trailed by 16 early in the fourth but made a big run to get to 126-123 following a 3-pointer by Barnes. Curry, who moments earlier missed one of two free throws, made one of two again. Fox then missed a 3 to end the game.
Doncic nearly had a double-double before halftime but it was Curry who gave Dallas its biggest lift in the first half. Curry made four 3s, three on wide-open looks, and scored 16 points in 14 minutes to help the Mavs to a 71-67 lead.
Porzingis didn’t sound too frustrated after being a late scratch from the lineup. He felt some pain in his right knee during pregame warmups. “I worked out yesterday, not a full workout but a solid workout, 35-45 minutes. Felt good,” Porzingis said. “Then today I kind of felt it a little bit more. Started warming up, started doing some stuff and felt it more and more. They made the decision for me to take some more time.”
The Mavericks have a day off before playing Portland, and Carlisle said the team will assess Porzingis’ situation then.
Mavericks: Former Kings player Justin Jackson made a buzzer-beating 3 to end the third quarter. … Over his last three games, Powell is shooting 83.3% (25 of 30).
Kings: Fox was whistled for a technical after being hit with an offensive foul in the third quarter. … Bagley started at centre for the first time this season. Part of that is a result of Richaun Holmes being out with a right shoulder injury. Holmes missed his fourth straight game and will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks. Bagley had 12 points and seven rebounds. … Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle soreness) did not play.
Mavericks: Play the Trail Blazers in Dallas on Friday. Portland beat the Mavs at the American Airlines Center in October.
Kings: Face the Jazz in Utah on Saturday.
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