MILWAUKEE – Luka Doncic ditched the crutches as fast as he could.
Two days after he suffered a sprained right ankle against Miami, Doncic already was making significant progress and giving fans and everybody in the Mavericks’ locker room reason to exhale.
“Luka Doncic is responding well to treatment,” coach Rick Carlisle said Monday night. “He is off crutches and out of a (walking) boot. He’s progressing well.”
Carlisle said the 6-7 point guard will not play on Wednesday. But he did not commit to anything beyond that game against Boston.
“If there’s any update it will be Wednesday night,” he said. “It may not be much of an update at that point, but he’s doing well.”
Doncic suffered the injury in the opening minutes against the Heat. The Mavericks may have been a little shellshocked as they fell behind by 24 points in the first half. They rallied in the second half and took a four-point lead late in regulation before losing in overtime, 122-118.
Doncic is averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game.
Carlisle said the key for the Mavericks in Doncic’s absence will be to spread the wealth.
“The next guy has to be ready,” he said. “Look, he’s a great player, he’s putting up phenomenal numbers and so, it’s a collective thing. We’re obviously going to become a more balanced team by nature. And the second half of the Miami game is what it should look like.”
The Mavericks started Jalen Brunson in Doncic’s place and had Ryan Broekhoff on the active roster.
Matthews prospering: Former Maverick Wesley Matthews is winning over fans and people in the Bucks’ organization the same way he did in Dallas when he was with the Mavericks.
His defense travels well.
“He loves the challenge defensively,” Bucks’ coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He guards the best wings and really, he’s guarded some big guys (and) point guards. He brings a physicality to that side of the ball.
“He just takes a ton of pride in it. That’s kind of how we want to be as a team, so he fits in perfectly.”
Matthews, who said he’s having a blast in Milwaukee — and who wouldn’t when on an 18-game winning streak — is averaging 7.8 points and shooting 38 percent from 3-point range.
Briefly: The Mavericks’ visit to Milwaukee marked the start of a road-heavy schedule. They will play six of the last eight games in 2019 on the road. They will go from the East Coast (Philadelphia) to Canada (Toronto) to the West Coast (Golden State and LA Lakers) before this stretch is done. They will have played in three countries in 10 days by the time they get to Toronto on Sunday . . . Giannis Antetokounmpo came into Monday’s game with 14 games in which he’s scored at least 30 points and grabbed at least 10 rebounds. That leads the NBA by a mile. Second? Luka Doncic has seven such games, followed by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns (six) and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (five).