Brunson scores 27 points, Mavericks beat Hawks 123-100
DALLAS (AP) – Dallas coach Rick Carlisle described the first game without top scores Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis as a great challenge.
The rest of the Mavericks accepted that challenge.
Jalen Brunson scored 27 points in his ninth start of the season, Dorian Finney-Smith matched a career high with 22 points and Maxi Kleber added 18 as Dallas beat the Atlanta Hawks 123-100 in a game between teams with depleted rosters.
“My mentality stayed the same (minus Doncic and Porzingis),” said Brunson, in his second season. “I just was seizing the opportunity a little more.”
Doncic sprained his right ankle in Thursday’s practice and isn’t expected back until Feb. 10 at the earliest. Porzingis sat out the second of a back-to-back while recovering from a left knee injury. Carlisle said sitting Porzingis was decided before the Mavericks played on Friday night at Houston, where Porzingis scored a season-high 35 points in 36 minutes.
Brunson scored 19 points in the first half, nearly surpassing his previous season high of 21. He scored 13 in the second quarter as the Mavericks took control.
Seth Curry left in the fourth quarter with tightness in his left knee. Dallas had lost another starter, Dwight Powell, for the season on Jan. 21 with a torn right Achilles.
“We had a lot of good performances, really, top to bottom,” said Carlisle, who recorded his franchise-best 500th Dallas win. “It was a battle of attrition out there.”
The Mavericks are 3-2 without Doncic, the second-year guard voted in as an All-Star starter. They built a 62-49 halftime lead and extended that advantage to 29 points in the third quarter.
John Collins led the Hawks with 26 points and had 11 rebounds. Kevin Huerter scored 20 points.
Trae Young, also a first-time All-Star starter in his second season, was limited to 12 points, more than 15 below his average. One game after having a career-high 18 assists, Young had one assist. He left the game late in the third quarter with a right ankle sprain.
“We’ll talk more about it tomorrow,” Young said of the injury, “and hopefully I’ll be better soon.”
De’Andre Hunter, who has made 47 starts for Atlanta this season, didn’t play because of a left ankle sprain. Cam Reddish left the game late in the first quarter with a face contusion and was placed in concussion protocol. Bruno Fernando missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain.
The Hawks raced to a 15-5 lead in the first four minutes with Huerter hitting all three of the team’s 3-point shots. But the Mavericks answered with a 12-2 run to tie the score less than three minutes later. Dallas closed the period with a 19-9 spurt, beginning with a 16-foot pull-up jumper by Brunson with 5:33 left in the first quarter for the game’s only lead change.
Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said he was disappointed his team didn’t take advantage of a team that played the previous night on the road, losing 128-121 at Houston.
“They were spirited and moved the basketball well,” Pierce said.
Hawks: Huerter equaled a career best with six 3-pointers. . . Collins’ midcourt heave to close the first half bounced straight up off the rim, off the top of the backboard and then swished through the net, though it didn’t count. … Vince Carter, who turned 42 on Jan. 26, was honored with a video tribute after the first quarter that recognized his three seasons with Dallas. Carter was cheered frequently during the game.
Mavericks: Willie Cauley-Stein, acquired four days after Powell was lost, made his first start for the Mavericks. He had seven points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes. … Kleber matched a season high with four blocks. … Dallas shot 20 of 39 from behind the arc for 51.3 percent and is 11-0 when shooting better than 50 percent from long range.
Hawks: Host the Boston Celtics on Monday.
Mavericks: Visit the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
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