NEW YORK (AP) — Luka Doncic had 39 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 122-108 victory Thursday night over the New York Knicks, who had just seven players in the second half because of injuries and trades.
Former Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. added 19 points and Derrick Jones Jr. had 18 for the Mavericks, who wrapped up a 3-0 road trip after making a pair of trades earlier Thursday to land big men P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford. Kyrie Irving finished with 16 points.
“They were playing very aggressively and we had to win this game no matter what,” Doncic said.
Doncic scored 27 points in the second half and his prettiest pass came early in the game, a behind-the-back bullet that went about 20 feet to Dwight Powell under the basket.
Not many players would attempt such a pass, so Washington and Gafford better be ready when they play with their new superstar guard.
“I think being able to talk to those two today, they’re excited,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They know being on the other side what Luka can do, so I think now to be a teammate, they’re going to be excited they’re going to get to touch the ball a lot of times and they’re going to have wide-open shots.”
Donte DiVincenzo scored 36 points for the Knicks, who have lost two of three following a nine-game winning streak. Josh Hart had a season-high 23 points and added 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his second career triple-double, both in the last five games.
All-Star Jalen Brunson couldn’t play against his former team because of a sprained right ankle, joining All-Star Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson among sidelined Knicks starters. The Knicks announced before the game that Anunoby had surgery to have a loose bone fragment removed from his right elbow and would be evaluated in three weeks.
They sent four players to the Detroit Pistons earlier Thursday in the deal for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, leaving them just eight available players. Coach Tom Thibodeau said that was more than enough, but New York was down to seven after Isaiah Hartenstein, who has played well as Robinson’s replacement at center, sat out the second half with a sore left Achilles tendon.
Thibodeau said some of the Knicks’ mistakes were understandable with some seldom-used players on the court.
“I thought we did some good things,” Thibodeau said. “We had a tough stretch in the third, but then I liked the way we fought back in the fourth.”
The Mavericks acquired Washington from Charlotte and Gafford from Washington. But with them unavailable and rookie center Dereck Lively II missing a fourth straight game with a broken nose, they had a shortage of big bodies Thursday.
That didn’t matter, with the Knicks short on bodies of all sizes.
It will remain that way through after the All-Star break next weekend. The Knicks hope Robinson can begin doing some work after that, while a return for Randle and Anunoby won’t be determined until they are evaluated toward the end of February.
The Knicks had to give playing time to guard Charlie Brown Jr., who made his fifth appearance of the season, and rookie Jacob Toppin, who will take part in the Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday but has now played in four NBA games.