DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 39 points, 11 rebounds and his 16th technical foul of the season for the Dallas Mavericks, who will open the playoffs at home for the first time since 2011 after their 127-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night.
The Mavericks will play their regular season finale on Sunday without Doncic unless the technical foul is waived by the NBA office. If confirmed, his 16th of the season means an automatic one-game suspension.
Dwight Powell added 18 points, Dorian Finney-Smith 15 and Spencer Dinwiddie 14 for the Mavericks (51-30), who are guaranteed a top-four finish in the Western Conference. None of the Mavs’ top four scorers played past the third quarter.
Dallas will open a first-round playoff series at home for the first time since its 2011 NBA championship season. That was when Jason Kidd, now the head coach, was the point guard. They have lost the first-round series in their last six playoff appearances since.
There’s still a chance Dallas could move up to the third seed as they hold the tiebreaker against Golden State (51-29), which still has games in San Antonio and New Orleans.
Drew Eubanks had 18 points and Ben McLemore 14 for the Trail Blazers (27-54), who trailed throughout while losing their 10th straight game. They lost 20 of 22 overall.
Doncic was rated his 16th technical after being undermined by Portland’s Elijah Hughes on a shot from beyond midfield late in the first quarter. As soon as he fell, Doncic reached out with both arms and pleaded his case to the referee closest to him. He then got up and went to talk to head referee Tony Brothers, who issued the technique.
Between quarters, Doncic could be heard telling a Mavs official that he had asked Brothers, “How is that not a foul?” before having the technique.
After completing an inbound pass in the backcourt with 2.6 seconds left, Doncic moved by Hughes, who reached out and then appeared to stumble. This led to contact with Doncic, who was then in the air and fell to his rear as the shot was not good.
Doncic already had 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists by then, as the 36-13 lead was the biggest for the Mavericks at the end of the first quarter this season. Powell had 11 points in the quarter.
Trail Blazers: Portland has lost its last six road games. The Trail Blazers, who lost to New Orleans on Thursday night, finished 6-9 in the second game in a row – 1-5 in those road games.
Mavericks: Brothers was also the head referee exactly a week earlier when the Mavericks lost in Washington, and Kidd was ejected when he was called for two technical fouls in the fourth quarter. After that match, Kidd said Brothers had now kicked him out as a player and as a coach. Kidd then said: “What I said to him was, ‘Whose ball is it? And he took it personal, unfortunately, and kicked me out. It happens.”
Trail Blazers: Close the season at home Sunday night against Utah, which is 3-0 this season against Portland.
Mavericks: Play their regular season finale at home against San Antonio on Sunday night.
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