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 128-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
The Mavericks will play their regular-season finale Sunday without Doncic, unless the technical foul is rescinded by the NBA office. If upheld, his 16th of the season means an automatic one-game suspension.
“I got a technical asking how is that not a foul … that’s it,” said Doncic, who was undercut and knocked down by Portland’s Elijah Hughes when taking a shot from beyond midcourt at the end of the first quarter. “If you ask me, I think 100 percent it should be rescinded, because it wasn’t a tech. No warning, no nothing. I was just asking.”
Crew chief Tony Brothers, who issued the tech, told a pool reporter after the game Doncic wouldn’t stop complaining.
“He started to complain to each of the officials. When I was walking toward the table, he was 15 feet in the backcourt still complaining, so he got a technical for continuously complaining,” Brothers said.
Dwight Powell added 18 points, Dorian Finney-Smith 15 and Spencer Dinwiddie 14 for the Mavericks (51-30), who are guaranteed a top-four seed in the Western Conference. None of the Mavs’ top four scorers played after 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 first-round series their last six playoff appearances since.
There is still the chance Dallas could move to the third seed since it owns the tiebreaker over Golden State (51-29), which has games remaining at 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 game in a row. They have dropped 20 of 22 overall.
“I thought we played hard for the most part. We just couldn’t make shots,” first-year Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “Against this team, you’ve got to keep up with the scoring.”
After taking an inbound pass in the backcourt with 2.6 seconds left in the first quarter, Doncic moved by Hughes, who reached in and then appeared to stumble. That led to contact with Doncic, who was then in the air and fell on his rear end while the shot was no good.
As soon as he fell, Doncic extended both of his arms and pleaded his case to the referee closest to him. He then got up and went to talk to Brothers.
Kidd said he was talking with his assistant coaches after the quarter when told Doncic had gotten a technical.
“Everybody said he didn’t curse, so that’s all I can go on is what they said, but that’s between Tony and himself, so we’ll see what the league says,” Kidd said. “If he can play (Sunday), he plays, if he can, he moves on to the playoffs, starts with a new slate. It’s not a big deal.”
Brothers confirmed there was no profanity.
Doncic already had 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists by that point, when the 36-13 lead was the largest for the Mavericks at the end of the first quarter this season. Powell had 11 points in the quarter.
After going 1 of 7 on 3-pointers before halftime, Doncic shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc in a 25-point outburst in the third quarter that may be his last before the playoffs.
“Honestly I’m tired, it’s been a long year,” Doncic said with a laugh when asked about the possibility of having an unexpected day off Sunday. “This is what it’s about, the playoffs, I’ll be ready to go.”
Trail Blazers: Portland lost its final six road games. The Trail Blazers, who lost at New Orleans on Thursday night, finished 6-9 in the second game of back-to-backs — 1-5 in those games on the road.
Mavericks: Brothers was also the lead referee exactly a week earlier when the Mavericks lost at Washington, and Kidd as ejected when he was called for two technical fouls in the fourth quarter. After that game, Kidd said Brothers has now thrown him out as a player and as a coach. Kidd said then: “What I said to him was, ‘Whose ball is it?’ And he took that personal, unfortunately, and threw me out. It happens.”
Trail Blazers: Close out 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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