The Dallas Mavericks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 111-106 on Thursday night behind an incredible performance from Luka Doncic. The 23-year-old superstar had 21 points in the opening quarter as he helped his team score 40 to rush out to a massive lead, and they needed every bit of it. Dallas was up 27 at halftime, and 28 when Doncic exited in the third quarter before New Orleans made a hard charge but fell just short.
Doncic scored 31 points on 12 of 19 shooting from the field in just 23 minutes of action Thursday night. He had eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals as the Mavericks outscored New Orleans by 17 with number 77 on the floor. LD was outstanding on Feb. 2 as he has scored 30-plus in 14 of his last 18 contests. It was an incredible night that was spoiled in the third quarter by a heel injury.
The Pelicans employed a zone defense as they were trying anything to slow down Doncic. The Mavs superstar drove to the basket as both Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram rotated into the paint to contest the shot. Ingram was initially called for a foul, but after a review, it was ruled a clean block that caused Luka to fall hard and awkwardly on his right leg. Doncic limped back to the bench, but he stayed into the game after the timeout before exiting just moments later.
Luka Doncic goes off as Mavericks defeat Pelicans: Exits in 3rd quarter with a heel injury
Doncic injured his left ankle against the Suns on Jan. 26, and his mild ankle sprain caused him to miss one game. Luka returned with 53 points against the Pistons, and he was dominating on Thursday night before his latest injury.
Doncic was ruled out for the rest of the game with the team called a right heel contusion, but that was the only update they provided. Head coach Jason Kidd said the score did not factor into the decision to rule LD out, and the team would see how Luka felt tomorrow before giving an update on his status moving forward.
Dallas struggled without Luka as the Pelicans made a massive run only to fall just short. The Mavericks lacked ball movement and offensive juice. Spencer Dinwiddie tried to do too much, and Tim Hardaway Jr. could not buy a bucket. The pair was seven of 37 from the field on Thursday night. The Mavs held on to win, but it further proved the team's reliance on Doncic.
Credit to Josh Green, who stepped up with Luka out. He had 15 points, four rebounds, and two steals in 30 minutes of action. The 22-year-old was seven of ten from the field, and he made some key drives to the basket late to help Dallas get a crucial victory.
The Mavericks are already without Christian Wood and Maxi Kleber, and Davis Bertans injured his calf in Thursday’s win. Dallas could be extremely shorthanded in their next contest if all four players are unable to suit up.
It was an awkward hard fall that caused Luka Doncic to exit the win over the Pelicans. Hopefully, it was more precautionary, and he will be able to return on Saturday night as the Dallas Mavericks go on the road to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.