NBA: Luka Doncic has 39-point triple-double, Mavericks rout Spurs

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Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against San Antonio Spurs forward Zach Collins (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

DALLAS — Luka Doncic scored 39 points in a triple-double and the Dallas Mavericks routed San Antonio 144-119 on Saturday night after Spurs rookie star Victor Wembanyama was a late scratch when he sprained an ankle during warmups.

Doncic, who had 12 rebounds and recorded his 10th assist just before leaving the game for good at the end of the third quarter, had his 36th 30-point triple-double, one shy of LeBron James for third on the career list.

“We all know who he is, what he’s doing in his 21st year in the NBA, which is unbelievable,” Doncic said. “It means a lot.”

The Spurs entered the game on a 1-21 skid, and their luck didn’t get any better when Wembanyama stepped on a ball boy’s foot after taking a few steps following a shot before the game.

The 19-year-old sensation got his right ankle retaped and wanted to play, but coach Gregg Popovich held the nearly 7-foot-4 Wembanyama out for precautionary reasons.

Wembanyama had sat out two games earlier in Milwaukee with soreness in the same ankle. He would have been on a minutes restriction had he played.

“If it was a playoff game, I probably would have played him,” Popovich said. “He’s not happy about it, but I would rather err on the conservative side since it’s the same ankle that he just got a time limitation on.”

Jeremy Sochan had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who lost their fourth straight since stopping an 18-game losing streak, which set a franchise record for the second consecutive season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 23 points, and Dante Exum added 20 for Dallas.

The Mavs ended a three-game losing streak a night after Doncic and All-Star sidekick Kyrie Irving were out in a 26-point loss at Houston. Doncic had a quadriceps strain, and Irving has now missed eight consecutive games with a right heel bruise. Dallas is 4-4 in those games.

“We still have some injuries, so we’ve got to still keep it together,” Doncic said. “Everybody’s got to stay together, and next-man-up mentality.”

Doncic, who is 11 points shy of 10,000 for his career in the 24-year-old’s sixth season, was 13 of 27 from the field, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range.

It was his sixth triple-double of the season three nights after Doncic thought he had one with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. A rebound was taken away in the official final stats.

That 120-111 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers is the only game out of the past 12 Doncic has played that the four-time All-Star didn’t score at least 30.



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Spurs: Host Utah on Tuesday night.

Mavericks: At Phoenix on Monday night to wrap up the NBA’s Christmas schedule.





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