The Dallas Mavericks will put their unbeaten road record on the line against a team that has yet to lose at home when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
The game will mark Mavericks standout Luka Doncic’s second career trip to Cleveland, where he matched his season-high with 35 points in a 111-98 win last February.
Doncic will take the court this time with a slightly new look after getting three stitches to close a gash in his head sustained late in Friday’s 119-110 home overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was tested twice for a concussion — both during and after the game — and cleared both exams, making him a likely participant against the Cavaliers.
“I felt a little bit weird a few minutes after the hit, but then it was OK,” he noted to reporters after the game, during which he recorded a triple-double with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists. “I had a little headache for a few minutes, but then it was over. I put some ice on it, and it was better.”
Doncic produced the headache for Cavaliers fans in his 13-for-25 outing in his first NBA game in Cleveland. He also found time to complete a double-double with 11 rebounds.
While Doncic came away from Friday’s game with an ice bag on his head, teammate Kristaps Porzingis left the arena scratching his after having been mostly a spectator in the narrow loss to the Lakers.
He finished with 16 points, but got only six shots over the final 29 minutes.
Afterward, he noted that his lack of activity was something he and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle have “got to look at and figure out and learn from it.”
Porzingis will be making his first visit to Cleveland as a Maverick, but he’s surely no stranger to Cavaliers fans. As a member of the New York Knicks, he had 32 points and 12 rebounds in his most recent game in Cleveland in October 2017.
The Cavaliers had LeBron James at the time. Now they feature Kevin Love and a young roster being molded by first-year NBA coach John Beilein.
The longtime Michigan coach has brought nothing but smiles to his new home fans so far this season, with the Cavaliers having beaten Indiana and Chicago in their first two home games.
They’ve interspersed three road losses, however, including 102-95 in a rematch with the Pacers on Friday night in a game in which rookie Darius Garland missed all 10 of his shots.
The 19-year-old assured reporters the 0-fer would be ancient history by the time he took the court to face the Mavericks.
“Teammates told me to keep shooting. Coaching staff telling me to keep shooting,” he said. “I’m going to keep shooting.”
Garland has shot 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) and averaged 10.5 points in Cleveland’s two home wins.
Dallas is 2-0 on the road win wins over New Orleans and Denver.
–Field Level Media