The Dallas Mavericks won’t have the franchise’s star player, second-year guard/forward Luka Doncic, for at least five more games. Doncic sustained his second ankle injury of the season during a 20-minute scrimmage at Thursday’s practice.
The 20-year-old Doncic is averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game. The NBA’s 2018-19 Rookie of the Year is fourth in the league in assists and fifth in scoring.
Before getting injured Thursday, Doncic became just the third Maverick in franchise history to be selected as a starter in the 2020 All-Star Game on Feb. 16. Dirk Nowitzki was an All-Star starter in 2007 and 2010, while Jason Kidd was in 1996, which was his second season just like Doncic.
Doncic was second overall in All-Star voting by the fans, behind only LeBron James. He’s led the Mavs to a 29-19 straight-up record and a 25-20-3 spread ledger. They’re currently one game behind Houston for the lead in the Southwest Division.
Dallas is sixth overall in the Western Conference, three games back of No. 4 Utah and four games behind Denver and Dallas, who are both trailing the Lakers for the West’s top seed by 3.5 games. Oklahoma City is No. 7, one game behind the Mavs.
Rick Carlisle told the media on Friday that he expects Doncic to be close to 100 percent by All-Star Weekend in two weeks.
Without Doncic, Dallas lost 128-121 at Houston last night, but the Mavs covered the spread as eight-point road underdogs. The 249 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 238-point total. Kristaps Porzingis enjoyed his best game in a Dallas uniform, producing 35 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot in 35:33 of playing time.
Dallas is in a back-to-back spot tonight hosting Atlanta. As of 9:45 a.m. ET. this morning, most books had the Mavs installed as five-point home favorites with a total of 238.
UPDATE at 12:45 p.m. ET.: Porzingis is ‘out’ tonight vs. Atlanta. There’s no injury; the Mavs have simply decided to rest him. Most shops are currently showing Dallas -4 with the total at 237 points.
The ‘over’ is 29-19 overall for Dallas after hitting in back-to-back contests. The ‘over’ has cashed in four consecutive games for the Hawks and is on an 8-1 run in their last nine games.
Atlanta rookie forwards De’Andre Hunter (ankle) and Bruno Fernando (calf) are both listed as ‘questionable.’ Veteran center Alex Len is ‘out’ indefinitely with a hip injury that’s likely to keep him sidelined until mid-February.
Atlanta’s Jabari Parker remains ‘out’ indefinitely with a throat issues that’s expected to keep him out several more weeks. In 32 games, Parker was averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Hunter, who has played in a team-best 48 out of 49 games for Atlanta, is averaging 12.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 APG.
Tonight’s tip in Dallas is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.
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