Mavs hang on after Doncic hurt, hand Pels 10th straight loss

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 2: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks gets up slowly after landing hard on the court against the New Orleans Pelicans in the second half at American Airlines Center on February 2, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 11

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks barely held on after leading by 27 points when Luka Doncic exited the game with a right heel injury on a hard fall.

The New Orleans Pelicans thought their one chance to finish the rally and end a long losing streak was taken away by the officials, who acknowledged two incorrect calls in the final seconds.

Doncic scored 31 points before leaving midway through the third quarter, and the Mavericks survived a 16-point fourth quarter without him in a 111-106 victory Thursday night, handing the travel-weary Pelicans their 10th consecutive loss.


Dallas’ lead was three points when the Mavericks were inbounding with 4.9 seconds left. Brandon Ingram tipped Josh Green’s pass and appeared to save it before his foot landed out of bounds.

C.J. McCollum grabbed the loose ball, but officials had blown the whistle. There was no review, and Dallas inbounded again with 3.4 seconds to go. No time was put back on the clock, and Spencer Dinwiddie made two free throws after a foul with 2.4 seconds as the Mavericks held on.

Crew chief Kevin Scott said the officials’ review after the game showed Ingram wasn’t out of bounds when he made contact with the ball, and that the clock incorrectly ran after the whistle.

Pelicans coach Willie Green said he wasn’t given an explanation why the call couldn’t be reviewed, and Larry Nance Jr. said players saw the same thing as officials after the game.

"The players should have decided the game, and they didn’t," Nance said. "There were two wrongs done. The clock was wrong, and the call was wrong. I just hope we get the same calls at home. That would be lovely."

New Orleans (26-27) dropped below .500 for the first time this season after arriving on the day of the game because wintry weather in Dallas had the team stuck in Denver since Tuesday night.

Doncic stayed in the game after taking a hard fall when he was winding up for a one-handed dunk and Ingram knocked the ball out of his hand as Doncic was bumped by Jonas Valanciunas.

Ingram was called for a foul, and New Orleans successfully challenged. Doncic returned after the break for the review, but after one trip down the court, the 23-year-old star screamed in frustration as he limped to the locker room without looking at the Dallas bench.

"We’ll see how he feels tomorrow," coach Jason Kidd said. "I think no matter what the score was, he wasn’t coming back."

The 27-point lead at Doncic’s exit with 6:47 remaining in the third was all the way down to four when Herbert Jones hit a layup with 58 seconds left in the game.

Ingram, who scored 26 points, missed a jumper that would have cut the deficit to two, then hit a jumper to cut the deficit to three after Reggie Bullock made one of two free throws. Dallas called a timeout to avoid a turnover in the backcourt, setting up the disputed late sequence.

Luka Doncic to start NBA All-Star Game

"Looking at the defense, sometimes you can relax with a big lead," Kidd said. "Understanding the Pelicans are a good team, they’re trying to break a losing streak."

New Orleans, which finished a three-game trip, has been without All-Star Zion Williamson throughout its longest losing streak since a 13-game skid before the pandemic paused the 2019-20 season. Williamson missed his 16th game with a right hamstring strain.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 points for Dallas, and Josh Green scored nine of his 15 points after Doncic exited.

Doncic had 27 points at the break, when Dallas led 70-43 and had 25 points off 13 turnovers by New Orleans, which arrived midday and tried its best to get into a game-day routine.

"Obviously, it’s been a hell of a day," said Nance, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds. "That first half wasn’t us. I don’t need to sit here and make excuses. Obviously hope nothing’s wrong with Luka. Having him out in the second half helped just a little bit."