CLEVELAND – – The blow under the belt of Luka Doncic to Collin Sexton got him an ejection. It didn’t slow down the Dallas Mavericks.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 25 and Josh Richardson had 20, allowing playoff-bound Dallas to overcome Doncic’s loss early in the third quarter and claim a 124-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. evening.
Doncic received a glaring foul of two – an automatic ejection – just 1:55 into the second half for hitting Sexton with “an aggressive strike in the groin area,” according to senior official David Guthrie. This happened while jostling to position himself under the Cleveland basket.
“I knew I hit it, but I didn’t know where until I saw the replay,” Doncic said. “It was nothing on purpose. This stuff happens a lot in the game. It was just two guys fighting for a rebound, I guess.
Sexton, who initiated the initial contact, said there was no hard feelings as it was only “a basketball game at the end of the day.”
“Anytime someone’s hand checks you usually hit (like Doncic did) so everything was fine,” Sexton said. “It was just a box-out game.”
Dallas extended its lead to one game against Portland in the battle for fifth place in the Western Conference. The Lakers came into the evening two games behind the Mavericks in the seventh, which would see them seed in the play-in tournament.
Doncic finished with 15 points in 22 minutes and Jalen Brunson added 13 points and seven assists for Dallas, who never lagged behind in their fourth straight win. Dwight Powell had 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
“I’m not really going to comment on Luka’s expulsion because I haven’t seen her closely enough,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s unfortunate, but it triggered our guys.”
Doncic has committed 15 technical fouls this season, one minus a mandatory NBA game suspension.
Sexton scored 24 points for the Cavaliers, who lost their 10th straight game – corresponding to their longest skid of the season – and haven’t won since April 21 against Chicago. Kevin Love added eight points and 11 rebounds, and Mfiondu Kabengele had 14 points.
After Doncic was ejected 1:55 in the second half, Sexton made the accompanying two free throws to shoot Cleveland in 68-59. Dallas responded with a 30-13 run that featured 13 points by Hardaway.
“Everyone was very professional about it,” said Richardson. “We huddled up and said we had to get these boys out of here because we felt like we were the best team.”
Brunson buried a 3-point run early in the fourth quarter to give Dallas their biggest lead at 103-73. The Southwest Division champions Mavericks are 7-1 since April 27.
Fan favorite Anderson Varejao was the first Cleveland player to leave the bench and had five points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes. The Cavaliers, who have lost five in a row at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, lost to Dallas for the second time in three days.
“They saw their best player come out of the game and rallied around him,” Cleveland coach JB Bickerstaff said. “That’s what winning basketball teams do when they’re down.”
The Mavericks face two playoff contenders in their last four games, taking on Memphis and New Orleans. Dallas ends the regular season with Toronto and Minnesota as well. “The guys know about the standings so I don’t need to talk about it,” Carlisle said. “Considering how this season has gone, I’m more concerned with ‘Where are we? What time is it? And where do you want to be in 10 minutes? “
Mavericks: Doncic had his 1,500th career assist, two days after scoring his 5,000th NBA point. … F Kristaps Porzingis (right knee pain) missed his sixth game in a row and F Maxi Kleber (right knee pain) missed his fourth game in a row. … Rookie G Tyrell Terry (personal reasons) hasn’t appeared in a game since Jan. 29.… Dallas has used 27 rosters in their first 68 games, starting with 15 different players.
Cavaliers: G Darius Garland (sprained left ankle), injured April 30 against Washington, trained on the field before the game. … F Cedi Osman (right ankle pain), C Isaiah Hartenstein (possible concussion), F Lamar Stevens (concussion), F Taurean Prince (left ankle surgery), F Larry Nance Jr. (right thumb fracture) ), G Matthew Dellavedova (neck strain) and F Dylan Windler (left knee surgery) were not available.
Mavericks: In Memphis Tuesday night.
Cavaliers: welcome Indiana Monday night.