DALLAS – Before going to the all-star game to play with his basketball idol, Luka Doncic returned after an injury to test a pairing that is much more important to the Dallas Mavericks sensation.
The 20-year-old Slovenian and Eurocolleague Kristaps Porzingis wants to continue like this after the break.
Doncic had 33 points and 12 rebounds after missing seven games with a sprained right ankle, while Porzingis slumped 27 points with 13 boards and the Mavericks won 130-111 on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings.
Doncic is an all-star starter who will play for the LeBron James team in his second season. He has added eight templates for the NBA triple double leader's final game before heading to Chicago for the all-star weekend, where he also wants to play in the stars area game.
Porzingis will wait for him to come back after having had his first successful season together like never before, and after the 7-foot-3-Latvian has had three best games in a row with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds against Doncic.
"It is getting better and better," said Doncic about the interaction between the two. "It's good if we both have these nights."
Buddy Hield scored 22 points and De’Aaron Fox added 16 for the Kings, who stayed behind in the second quarter and were never closer than 11 points in the second half.
"For some reason, we didn't feel like playing a lot of defense tonight," said coach Luke Walton. "We couldn't stop their top guys and when we did we just didn't feel like we had the passion and desire to win in this league, especially on the street."
It didn't take Doncic long to find a groove. He scored 17 points in the first half with eight rebounds and five assists, including a no-look pass in the transition to Maxi Kleber for a dunk.
Porzingis, who had five assists and three blocks, was 11 out of 16 players, with a sharp downturn alternating that brought the Dallas lead over 20 for the first time 89:68 towards the end of the third quarter.
"The game, communication and eye contact between them throughout the game was fantastic," said coach Rick Carlisle. "KP mixed bread rolls, pops. Luka drove and stepped back. And they played great together. It's a great thing, especially during the break. "
It is the second time that Doncic has missed games with a sprained right ankle. He had to pause four games in December after being injured early in a loss to Miami and injured his ankle again in training late last month.
"It was a quiet 33rd. It was real," said Carlisle. “He really involved everyone and chose his places and was very efficient in his field goal attempts. This is the sign of a great player who can. "
Kent Bazemore scored 15 points and scored a 3-point goal that gave the Kings the lead in the second quarter, just 12 minutes back in the ninth minute of play.