Basketball / NBA

Luka Doncic helps Mavericks pull away from Nets

AP

With Luka Doncic resting and Dallas’ other two top scorers out with injuries, Seth Curry kept the Mavericks even with Brooklyn until the 20-year-old phenom could take over again.

Curry scored 15 of his 25 points with Doncic sitting the last half of the third quarter, before the 2019 Rookie of the Year had 15 of his 31 in the fourth as the Mavericks pulled away for a 123-111 victory over the Nets on Thursday night.

Dallas avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season in the second straight game without forward Kristaps Porzingis and shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who together have been good for about 30 points a night.

Curry made all five of his 3-pointers and was 9 of 13 overall in the fourth game with at least 20 points this season for the younger brother of Stephen Curry.

“A lot of guys can make plays and we never know who’s going to get the touches or the shots that night other than Luka,” Curry said. “It’s fun to play. Every night it seems like somebody different is making a big impact.”

Doncic remained tied with Jason Kidd for the franchise record for triple-doubles in one season with nine. That’s in part because he had seven assists while taking more of the scoring load. Doncic had a game-high 13 rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie led seven Brooklyn players in double figures with 19 points, but the Nets shot 33 percent while getting outscored 30-18 in the fourth quarter and losing their fourth straight game for the first time this season.

“We didn’t get a stop,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously, that’s what kind of ballooned their lead and we obviously didn’t make enough shots to keep pace.”

Heat 84, Raptors 76

In Miami, Bam Adebayo had 15 points and 14 rebounds and the Heat put together their best defensive performance of the season in a victory over Toronto.

Serge Ibaka had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.

Nuggets 124, Pacers 116

In Indianapolis, Michael Porter Jr. scored a career-high 25 points and Jamal Murray added 22 in Denver’s victory over Indiana.

Jeremy Lamb had a season-high 30 points for the Pacers.

Hornets 109, Cavaliers 106

In Cleveland, Devonte’ Graham hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to break a tie and cap Charlotte’s late rally against the Cavaliers.

Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 30 points.

Collin Sexton scored 21 points for Cleveland and Kevin Love had 18.

Zion practices with Pelicans

Zion Williamson returned to practice with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday for the first time since he had arthroscopic knee surgery shortly before the season.

But the NBA’s top overall draft choice out of Duke cannot yet say when he’ll make his regular-season debut

“I felt really good out there,” he said.

Williamson said he first must pass “assessments” by team medical staff before the decision can rest solely with him.

“It will probably be one of those moments, where, just like when it came to my college decision, I woke up and I’ll just know,” Williamson said.

Coach Alvin Gentry said Williamson participated fully in the on-court work, but the practice wasn’t particularly strenuous. It was the last practice before New Orleans flew to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Friday night.

Gentry said Williamson is not expected to play on the two-game trip that includes a stop in Sacramento on Saturday. New Orleans plays at home on Monday night against Utah.

Gentry said the club needs to “see what kind of progress he makes, see what happens after he goes through practices.”

Williamson has never been shy about his eagerness to return to the court and described an internal struggle between his youthful exuberance and longer-term considerations.

“It’s been a hard balance because I am 19,” Williamson began. “But from a professional standpoint, I do have to look at longevity.”

In other games

Jazz 102, Bulls 98

Timberwolves 99, Warriors 84

Thunder 109, Spurs 103

Kings 128, Grizzlies 123

Clippers 126, Pistons 112