DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic recorded the highest-scoring quarter in the NBA this season with 28 points in the first against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
Doncic made seven of his first nine 3-pointers, plenty of them several feet behind the arc in the highest-scoring quarter of the 22-year-old’s career, regular season or playoffs. Dallas led 36-28 after the first quarter.
The scoring explosion came in Doncic’s first game since the Mavericks agreed to trade Kristaps Porzingis to Washington. The Mavs envisioned Doncic and the 7-foot-3 Latvian being European scoring sidekicks for years in Dallas, but the connection never developed the way it was planned.
It could have been a 30-point quarter for Doncic, but he missed three of four free throws. He was 10 of 13 from the floor and ended up 7 of 10 from 3 when a heave from near midcourt to beat the buzzer was wide right.
After the seventh 3 went in, many in the crowd rose and stayed on their feet when Dallas went to the defensive end. Then fans cheered loudly when play stopped and a smiling Doncic walked toward the bench.
The Clippers let center Ivica Zubac stay on Doncic on switches repeatedly early in the quarter, with Doncic hitting several 3s over the 7-footer and beating him on a drive twice. One bucket was a floater in the lane over Zubac.
LA started running two defenders at Doncic as soon he crossed midcourt, and a possible assist on a 30-foot pass to Marquese Chriss was thwarted when Chriss couldn’t convert on a contested layup.
The Clippers also allowed the previous highest-scoring quarter this season. Golden State star Stephen Curry had 25 in the first quarter of the Warriors’ 115-113 win on Oct. 21. Curry was 5 of 9 on 3-pointers.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports