The Dallas Mavericks will be without talisman Luka Doncic for Game 1 of their playoff series against the Utah Jazz and he is a major doubt for Game 2.

Doncic strained his left calf in the third quarter of the Mavs' final regular-season fixture, a 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs, and sat out the rest of the game after putting up 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

The two-time All-Star would have been ineligible for the game had the NBA not rescinded his 16th technical foul of the season, which he earned in the game prior against the Portland Trailblazers.

It was reported on Thursday that Doncic was set to miss Saturday's game against Utah and now ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has claimed the 23-year-old will definitely be out, adding that Dallas have serious concerns that he will also be missing for Game 2 on Monday.

Doncic has averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game this season. Across his career, he has averaged 30 points per game against the Jazz.

The Dallas Mavericks are expecting Luka Doncic to sit out their playoff opener against the Utah Jazz on Saturday due to a calf strain.

Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news on Thursday of what will likely prove to be a critical absence for the Mavs.

Doncic strained his left calf in the third quarter of the Mavs' final regular season fixture, a 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs, and sat out the rest of the game after putting up 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

The two-time All-Star would have been ineligible for the game had the NBA not rescinded his 16th technical foul of the season, which he earned in the game prior against the Portland Trailblazers. Doncic would have been forced to serve a one-game suspension if the technical foul had stood.

Though the win over the Spurs was ultimately a meaningless game, with the Golden State Warriors defeating the New Orleans Pelicans and confirming the Western Conference's third seed, the Mavs still had to keep up their end of the bargain and beat the Spurs.

The 23-year-old Slovenian averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game this season.

The Dallas Mavericks have not ruled out All-Star Luka Doncic from Saturday's NBA first round playoffs opening game against the Utah Jazz despite confirming a left calf strain.

Doncic limped from the court in Sunday's win over the San Antonio Spurs, putting him in doubt ahead of the playoffs.

The Mavericks announced that an MRI on Monday had confirmed the superstar had suffered a strain in his calf but did not set a timetable on his recovery.

"If he's able to go out and put on his shoes, then he's going to go," Mavs head coach Jason Kidd told reporters after Tuesday's practice.

"If he can't, we're not going to put him in a situation to jeopardize it and make things worse."

The Mavericks will turn to Spencer Dinwiddie to start if Doncic is unavailable. Doncic has an NBA-high 37 per cent usage rate this season.

Dinwiddie has averaged 15.8 points and 3.9 assists in 23 games for the Mavs since his trade deadline deal from the Washington Wizards.

Doncic averaged 28.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists this season.

Luka Doncic limped off the court during the Dallas Mavericks' 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, leaving him in doubt to start the Mavs' playoff series against the Utah Jazz.

The two-time All-Star left the court with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter, injuring his calf during an offensive possession. He quickly grabbed at his injured calf and asked for the Mavs bench to call a timeout.

The 23-year-old was originally suspended from playing Sunday's game, before the NBA rescinded his 16th technical foul of the season, which he received in Friday's win over the Portland Trailblazers.

Doncic was diagnosed with a left calf strain after leaving the court with Mavs director of athletic performance Casey Smith, and did not return to the game.

"We'll know more tomorrow," Mavs coach Jason Kidd said of Doncic post-game. "They were going to [get] their normal run the second half because it's a week [before the first game against Utah]. So we just felt we'd keep the regular rotation and they'd be done by the third quarter and go from there.

"I thought he was cramping up, but I haven't talked to Casey. Hopefully it's not too serious.

"But with that being said, injuries are a part of the game. We'll see how he feels. The good news is that we have won home court and we have a week before we play."

Before leaving the floor, Doncic had put up 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in just 29 minutes.

With the Golden State Warriors also defeating the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and rendering the Mavs game inconsequential to playoff placings in the Western Conference, Jason Kidd's side still needed to hold up their end of the bargain.

On the prospect of the matchup with the Jazz, Kidd asserted it will not be an easy series, whether Doncic is on the floor or not.

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "They're well coached. They [have] got All-Stars, and they've been together for a while.

"They've been through a lot of playoff games together. This is going to be a great test for us. It should be a tough series."

Klay Thompson knew this would be a season of "ups and downs" so was delighted he could save one of his best performances for a big game on Saturday.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 111-107 to secure their place in the playoffs for the first time since 2019 – the last in their run of five straight NBA Finals appearances.

Breakout star Jordan Poole was vital again with 31 points, but the night belonged to Thompson, who had 36.

Thompson sustained the first of two serious long-term injuries in the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors and so missed the entirety of the next two campaigns, in which the Warriors fell short of the postseason.

He returned this year but has not always looked like one of the greatest shooters in NBA history.

Thompson is shooting career lows both from the field (41.8 per cent) and from three-point range (37.1 per cent), while his 19.3 points per game are his fewest since 2013-14, before the Warriors' dynasty began.

But this has been a difficult season for Golden State as a whole, their strong early start fading in the face of further injury problems.

Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have only appeared together in three games and started together just once.

With the finish line nearing, though, it was Thompson who ensured they should get the opportunity to line up in the playoffs, when it is hoped that Curry will return.

"I know I can flip a switch just like that," Thompson said. "I knew this year would have its ups and downs, and I just told myself yesterday that it's one game and I will move on.

"I told Kenny Atkinson that I felt like I was going to have a big night tonight, and it came to fruition. I'm happy it did."

Coach Steve Kerr added: "We've seen it a million times. If Klay just sees the ball go through the hoop a couple of times, he can make the bad ones, too.

"I didn't think this was a dramatic improvement in terms of shot selection, but I think the fact that that midrange shot was there, that allowed him to get into a rhythm, and then he started making the impossible ones."

The Warriors were 21 points behind at one stage in the second quarter, making this their biggest comeback win of the season. They finally claimed the lead with 3:33 left in the game.

"What a performance," Kerr said. "I was amazed by the skill of Klay and Jordan, the emotion and passion from Draymond, and the methodical defense and energy from Andrew [Wiggins] and Otto [Porter Jr.].

"It was an unbelievable performance down the stretch by our guys."

The Philadelphia 76ers tied a franchise record of 21 three-pointers in their 144-114 rout of the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

Tobias Harris scored 23 points and had a season high of five triples, with the Sixers getting seven players in double figures and able to play their bench for the majority of the fourth quarter.

MVP candidate Joel Embiid was as dependable as ever with 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting, 14 rebounds and six assists. Despite an off-shooting night, James Harden was still able to fill up the stats sheet with 12 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds.

The Sixers moved the ball exceptionally throughout to generate clean looks, coming up with 38 assists for the night and shooting 49 per cent from the perimeter.

Philadelphia are still yet to clinch a playoff berth in a tight Eastern Conference, but moved a step closer at 47-30, 4.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers in seventh.

The Hornets had already wrapped up the final play-in spot in the East but were dominated on the boards, coming up with 15 less rebounds.

Durant and Irving light up but Nets go cold

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 86 points, but the Brooklyn Nets still came up short against the Atlanta Hawks in a 122-115 defeat.

Durant put up a season-high 55 points at an efficient 19-of-28 shooting, including eight-of-10 from beyond the arc. Aside from Irving though, not a single Nets player went into double figures, with Patty Mills and Cam Thomas particularly going a combined one-of-14 from the floor.

In what could be a potential play-in matchup in the Eastern Conference, Trae Young notched up 36 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

Dubs down Jazz with second-half fightback

The Golden State Warriors overturned a double-digit deficit at the main interval to claim a big 111-107 win at home over the Utah Jazz.

Still without the injured Stephen Curry and down by 13 at the half, the Dubs put the defensive clamps on and kept the Jazz to just 20 points in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson eventually combined for 67 points, but Golden State forcing four misses out of Utah's final five field goal attempts was definitive. 

After a hard-fought seven-game series in last year's NBA playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets added another chapter to their recent rivalry with an overtime thriller.

The Bucks ended up coming out on top 120-119 thanks to a mammoth performance from two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, finishing with 44 points on 14-of-21 shooting to go with 14 rebounds and six assists.

It was not just the raw numbers for Antetokounmpo, but the situations where he delivered, hitting a crucial step-back three to tie the game at 110-110 with less than 20 seconds remaining in regulation.

Down 118-119 with three seconds left in overtime, Antetokounmpo was fouled, and connected on both free throws to give the Bucks the lead and the win.

Jrue Holiday was crucial for the reigning champions, claiming six steals to go with his 19 points (six-of-18 shooting), eight rebounds and four assists.

Kevin Durant was terrific for the Nets, scoring 26 points on 10-of-21 from the field (three-of-six from long range) and also dishing out 11 assists, while Kyrie Irving chipped in with 25 points (nine-of-22 from the field) with five assists.


DeRozan's 50-piece leads comeback

The Chicago Bulls came back from an 11-point deficit with 4:58 remaining in regulation to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 135-130 in overtime.

After DeMar DeRozan hit three free throws in the final five seconds to tie the game and force overtime, the Clippers were forced to contest the extra period without star Paul George, who had hit his minutes restriction as he returns from a long-term elbow injury.

DeRozan went on to score 50 points on 17-of-26 shooting, while highly-regarded second-year forward Patrick Williams caught the eye coming off the bench, scoring 10 points without missing a shot while adding 12 rebounds and two blocks.

Cunningham shows class

Number one pick from this year's rookie class, Cade Cunningham, showed why he is viewed as a future star in this league as he led his Detroit Pistons to a 102-94 upset against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Cunningham was Detroit's best player, finishing with 27 points (12-of-20 shooting) to go with six assists and four steals and the Pistons out-scored the 76ers 29-15 in the final frame.

Joel Embiid was not to blame for the 76ers struggles, scoring 37 points on 11-of-19 shooting with 15 rebounds.

Paul George called on the inspiration of his "idol" Kobe Bryant after returning from injury to score 34 points as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz at the Crypto.com Arena.

George had not played since a win at the Sacramento Kings just before Christmas, missing the last 43 games, but he became the first player in NBA history to score over 30 points on his return to action after having missed his team's previous 30 or more games.

The 31-year-old had suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow, but showed no signs of rustiness as he top-scored for the Clippers in the 121-115 win on Tuesday.

After the game, George credited the late Bryant, who experienced numerous injury layoffs during a highly-decorated career.

"Just having an idol like Kobe Bryant," George said. "He played through stuff like this and I always hold myself to a high standard.

"At the end of the day, when I'm finished I want to look at my career, say I gave everything I had. I wanted to help my guys.

"I didn't want to leave them out here hanging for the rest of the season. I felt good. So you know, it was alright to come back.

"I feel good. There's no pain."

Clippers assistant coach Brian Shaw was involved in George's rehab, giving him running drills that the player acknowledged helped his recovery and prepared him for his return.

"Unnecessary running, but it paid off," a smiling George said. "I trusted him. I've got to shout out to the get ready crew, I've got to shout out those guys for getting me ready to play. They battled. They tested me in practices. And it prepared me for this."

George sank six of his nine three-point attempts against the Jazz, as well as managing six assists and two rebounds.

Head coach Tyronn Lue was understandably pleased to see his star man back on the court, saying post-game: "I was like, 'OK, he's good, he's ready.'

"It's a big morale boost to have him back. Guys were getting worn down and tired. We needed that."

Giannis Antetokounmpo came up with a game-winning block on Joel Embiid after scoring 40 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' crucial 118-116 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo rose to block Embiid's attempt to level the scores with less than two seconds left on the clock, with head coach Mike Budenholzer labelling it "special".

The Greek superstar finished with 40 points on 66 per cent shooting with 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.

The Bucks win is significant in the race for Eastern Conference seeds, moving Milwaukee (47-28) into second behind the Miami Heat (48-28), while the 76ers (46-29) slip to fourth.

Khris Middleton added 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Jrue Holiday contributed 18 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.

Embiid finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while James Harden had 32 points making four-of-10 from beyond the arc, with five rebounds and nine assists.

 

George returns in Clippers comeback win

Paul George marked his first game since December 22 with 34 points including six three-pointers as the Los Angeles Clippers fought back from 25 points down to win 121-115 over the Utah Jazz who have lost five in a row. The Clippers finished the game on a 34-12 run.

Kevin Durant scored 41 points with 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks while Kyrie Irving managed 24 points in his second home appearance as the Brooklyn Nets won 130-123 over the Detroit Pistons.

The Chicago Bulls found some form after winning only four of their past 15 games with an important 107-94 win over the Washington Wizards led by DeMar DeRozan with 32 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

 

Lakers slide continues

The Los Angeles Lakers' struggles continued with a heavy 128-110 loss to the Dallas Mavericks as Luka Doncic recorded a triple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. The Mavs led by as much as 37 points. The Lakers, who were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are 31-44 and slip to 11th out of the west's play-in spots.

James Harden scored 29 points with a season-high 15 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers improved to 46-27 with a 122-97 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

Harden had four three-pointers in his 29 points, while he also dished off seven assists, with Joel Embiid adding 27 points with 10 rebounds as the 76ers flexed their muscle.

The 76ers set the tone with a 35-19 first quarter with Tobias Harris (12 points, two rebounds and two assists) hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

Harden's 15 rebounds are the most the 2018 MVP has had in a game since December 2020 with the Houston Rockets.

The win helps the 76ers close on the Miami Heat (47-27) and Milwaukee Bucks (46-27) at the top of the Eastern Conference in the jostle for top seed ahead of the playoffs.

 

Curry-less Warriors beaten again

The Golden State Warriors lost for the fourth time in their past five games since Stephen Curry's foot injury, going down 121-110 to the Atlanta Hawks despite Klay Thompson's 37 points including nine triples. Hawks guard Trae Young starred with 33 points and 15 assists.

The Minnesota Timberwolves clinched their 11th win from their past 14 games as they got the Dallas Mavericks 116-95 led by Karl-Anthony Towns' 20 points and nine rebounds. Luka Doncic had 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavs.

The Charlotte Hornets responded after their shock defeat to the New York Knicks with an impressive 107-101 win over the Utah Jazz, with Miles Bridges scoring 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Terry Rozier added 25 points.

 

Knicks' remarkable run downs Heat

The Miami Heat looked set to gain some breathing space on top of the Eastern Conference before the New York Knicks closed on a remarkable 38-13 run to claim a stunning 111-103 victory. Immanuel Quickley scored 20 of his 23 points in the last quarter.

LeBron James scored 38 points and notched up another triple-double upon his return to Cleveland, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 131-120 win over the Cavaliers on Monday.

Other than this season's All-Star Game, it was Akron-born James' only home visit. Having played 11 seasons in two stints with the Cavs, he was warmly received as he added 10 rebounds and 12 assists to those 38 points.

Russell Westbrook and D.J. Augustin added 20 points each for the Lakers, who moved three games clear of the 10th-placed San Antonio Spurs for Western Conference play-in calculations.

Meanwhile, the Cavs only just remain in sixth in the Eastern Conference at 41-31, one game clear of the Toronto Raptors in the first play-in spot.

Durant gives Jazz the business in Brooklyn

Kevin Durant was at his talismanic best, as the Brooklyn Nets won 114-106 at home to the Utah Jazz.

Durant had 37 points on 15-of-23 shooting, including four-of-seven from beyond the arc, as well as coming up with nine rebounds and eight assists.

Brooklyn look set to secure an Eastern Conference play-in spot at 38-34 in eighth, and despite 30 points for the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell couldn't stop the Nets from snapping their three-game win streak.

Maxey catches fire in Heat win

Tyrese Maxey scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, propelling the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers to a 113-106 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat.

Without Joel Embiid and James Harden, Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz added 20 and 18 points respectively, while Maxey made critical buckets down the stretch.

In a game that was tight throughout, the 21-year-old came up big in the clutch, scoring on a drive plus the foul to give the Sixers a 106-101 lead with 2:18 remaining.

A barnstorming first half from the Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson set up a decisive 122-109 home victory against the reigning champions Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Thompson started on fire, scoring 21 points (8-12 from the field, 5-8 from three), with three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block as the Warriors went into the half-time leading 67-58.

In an interesting strategic decision, Milwaukee decided to face-guard Steph Curry all the way up to the half-court line when he did not have the ball.

It forced Curry into a decision, where he could either scratch and claw to try and play his usual game, or he could drag his defender out to near half-court, allowing his team-mates to play four-on-four with plenty of extra space.

Curry finished with only seven field goal attempts – his first game this season with less than 10 – but had eight assists, and opened up the game for Thompson and Jordan Poole to dominate.

Thompson finished with a season-high 38 points (15-24 from the field, 8-14 from three), while Poole collected an efficient 30 (9-16 from the field, 5-10 from three, 7-7 from the line).

It was also yet another glimpse of what the seventh overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, Jonathan Kuminga, could look like when he is fully formed as the 19-year-old scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, spending long periods of the game holding up defensively against Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo was the sole bright spot for Milwaukee, scoring 31 points (9-17 from the field, 12-18 from the line) to go with his eight rebounds. 

 

The Phoenix Suns became the first team to secure a playoff spot with an impressive 111-90 defeat of the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Devin Booker returned from a four-game absence to put up 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the leaders of the West toppled the top side in the East.

The Suns, who are 53-13 for the season, have now beaten all other 29 teams in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.

"I told the guys it was one of the best defensive performances I've ever seen," said Suns coach Monty Williams after watching his team concede just 35 points in the second half. "I've been around for a little bit."

Duncan Robinson was top scorer for Miami with 22, who led by 11 in the early stages before falling to just their third defeat in 15 games.

"They were first to the ball a lot," said Robinson. "They were the aggressor. Unacceptable."

 

The Milwaukee Bucks are now two games behind the Heat at the top of the Eastern Conference after beating the Atlanta Hawks 124-115, with Giannis Antetokounmpo's double-double of 43 points and 12 rebounds firing them to a sixth-straight win.

Antetokounmpo finished 15-of-22 from the field to take his tally to 82 points in the space of 24 hours after his 39 in Tuesday's victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"The things he does are not normal," said team-mate Bobby Portis. "It's fun to be his team-mate and fun to play alongside him."

Rockets stun Lakers in overtime

The Los Angeles Lakers lost for the ninth time in a row on the road, going down 139-130 in overtime against the Houston Rockets.

A triple-double from LeBron James and 30 points from Russell Westbrook were not enough as rookie Jalen Green hit a career-high 32 points for the Rockets.

"We have a really small margin of error this season and teams are making us pay," said James, whose run of consecutive 25-point games ended at 23. "I missed a lot of shots that I know I'm capable of making, have made throughout the course of the season and my career."

The Los Angeles Clippers snapped their two-game losing streak, beating the Washington Wizards 115-109, while the Utah Jazz improved to 41-24 with a comfortable 123-85 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Bulls back on track, Beasley sets record

The Chicago Bulls ended a run of five consecutive losses, DeMar DeRozan scoring 36 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, in a 114-108 win over the Detroit Pistons.

It was a day to remember for Malik Beasley, who set a franchise record for three-pointers in the Minnesota Timberwolves' win at home over the Thunder.

Beasley landed 11 of his 17 attempts from beyond the arc as Minnesota, seventh in the West, made it six wins in a row.

The Boston Celtics continued their recent good form with a 115-101 win at the Charlotte Hornets, while the New York Knicks pulled off a fifth-straight road win over the Dallas Mavericks, Julius Randle scoring 26 points in a 107-77 blowout.

Gregg Popovich will have to wait for his NBA record 1,336th regular-season win as coach, the San Antonio Spurs falling 119-104 at home to the Toronto Raptors.

There were also wins for the Orlando Magic, who topped the New Orleans Pelicans 108-102, and the Denver Nuggets, who beat the Sacramento Kings 106-100 thanks to a 38-point double-double from Nikola Jokic.

Luka Doncic maintained his record-breaking pace as he broke into the top 10 scorers in Dallas Mavericks history on Monday.

Doncic, still just 23 and in only his fourth season in the NBA, scored 35 against the Utah Jazz to move to 6,485 points in a Mavs uniform, nudging ahead of Jay Vincent (6,464) into 10th place.

The Slovenian has reached that mark in just 248 games, with only eight NBA players scoring more at this stage of their careers since 1963-64 – essentially a who's who of the sport's greatest names, including Michael Jordan (8,023), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (7,896), Shaquille O'Neal (6,766) and LeBron James (6,593).

Only among Mavs players, nobody can match Doncic, with Mark Aguirre (6,169) the sole other to pass 6,000 points within 250 games. Unsurprisingly, Doncic's 26.1 career points per game lead all-time Mavs players.

"There's some great scorers on that list," coach Jason Kidd – who is 15th (5,258) – said after the win against the Jazz.

"To do it in less than four years... that's pretty impressive. Kudos to him. He's special, and he showed it tonight."

Doncic is scoring 28.0 points per game this season – good for fifth in the NBA, as Joel Embiid's 29.7 points lead the way.

After a slow start, the Mavs superstar has accelerated up the standings in his past 15 games, averaging 34.1 points as well as 10.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists.

Since the 1976-77 merger, the only other players to average 34 points, eight rebounds and eight assists over a 15-game span have been Jordan and Russell Westbrook.

Doncic told reporters he was not aware of breaking into the Mavs' top 10 but said of the scoring pace that put him there: "Is it good? Could be better, right? Could be better."

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