MEXICO CITY – The NBA fans here wanted Luka Doncic to go off.
They got that – and so much more.
Doncic and the Mavericks delivered a terrific show and got a much-needed victory against the Detroit Pistons Thursday night. Doncic had another terrific evening and got star-worthy support from Seth Curry and Kristaps Porzingis as the Mavericks rolled to a 122-111 victory.
It erased some of the sour taste from Sunday’s loss to Sacramento and pushed the Mavericks’ record to 17-7. They have won 11 of their last 13.
Doncic came up with an absolute masterful performance. He finished with 41 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his eighth triple double of the season and matched his eight last season.
It also was his seventh such game on the road. He passed LeBron James and Magic Johnson (six each) for most triple doubles on the road before age 22.
It seems every night it’s something new in the stat category for Doncic. But he really was only interested in one thing.
“We came here to get the win,” he said. “And that’s what we did.”
Doncic got some serious help early on. The start of the game was not easy, but then Curry came in and fired in seven of his first eight shots. He had a 23-point first half, which tied Doncic.
“Doncic was spectacular,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I thought (Kristaps) Porzingis was great. Seth Curry off the bench was a microwave tonight. That means when you dial it and push the button, it gets hot real fast.”
As for Doncic winning over the fans in Mexico, Carlisle said: “This is getting routine. He’s doing this a lot. I’m happy for him and I’m happy for the people of Mexico City to be able to see a performance like this. It was a great individual performance.
“But I also liked the way he moved the ball and stayed within the team. He’s a great individual talent, but he knows how to play with his teammates. Some of his lob passes to Porzingis were breathtaking, spectacular.”
Porzingis had one of his best overall games of the season with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He also helped put the cuffs on Detroit’s Andre Drummond, who had a 20 points in the first half but with just 23.
And then there was Curry, who was simply uncanny with his shooting and, really, his overall game. He had seven rebounds and four assists in addition to his points.
If the NBA ever puts a team in Mexico City, Seth Curry probably hopes they do it before he retires.
It was almost three years ago, Jan. 12, 2017 to be exact, that Curry was inserted into the starting lineup and had 12 points in 24 minutes to help the Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns.
This time, he ramped up the production. Big time. Curry finished with 30 points, one shy of his career best.
So what is it about Mexico City?
“I don’t know, I just felt good,” Curry said. “The ball was moving. We were playing some fun basketball. Everybody was being aggressive and the second unit was playing fast and moving the ball.”
Curry was on the court when the Mavericks moved ahead late in the second quarter. Then Doncic took over in the third, with periodic MVP chants from the sellout crowd echoing through Mexico City Arena.
The lead reached 24, although the Pistons scored 11 in a row at the end of the third quarter to make it 95-85. The Mavericks never let it get particularly dramatic in the fourth quarter. Curry knocked in a 3-pointer that rolled around the rim and fell in, then Jalen Brunson hit one and it was 104-88.
Carlisle said he thought the venue might have something to do with the way Curry played. He remembered very well the game in 2017 when Curry got into the starting lineup.
“I remember it well,” he said. “There was some analytic info that said that starting him looked like a good idea. He had a strong game. He played well with our veterans. And he got a quick start tonight.
“And the great thing about getting a hot shooter going in a game like this, our guys know it and they find him. Even when Detroit was playing zone, our guys were making an effort to drive and kick and ultimately find Seth for the shot. I’m real happy for him. He did everything. He was a huge contributor.”
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