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Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points Bulls extended coach Billy Donovan before season started Three things to know: Luka Doncic looks like an MVP, but can he keep this up? Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

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Dallas has been in trouble this season with a lack of secondary shots behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie was ejected for elbowing golden state in the face Jordan Poolit looked like the Mavericks were in danger of losing to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans – and a triple-double with 41 points.

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The bailout came early in the fourth quarter when Dinwiddie drove down the lane to Poole and picked up the ball and elbowed Poole in the face.

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It was reviewed by the judges, who rated it “Egregious 2”. The league has cracked down on punches to the face and head – intentional or not – in the last couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie’s absence meant more Luke, and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had several last-second chances. The first, Stephen Curry invited to travel.

The Warriors disputed this decision, but the judges got nowhere. But they have another chance at Clay Thompson 3 draw, but it was just not their evening.

The Mavericks won 116–113. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 25 points, including five three-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32 points.

Bulls fans aren’t thrilled that the team, with a 9-11 record, is 11th in the East, not counting the play-in.

The Bulls management doesn’t either, but they don’t put the blame on coach Billy Donovan – in fact, they extended it right before the start of the season, history. broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic and has since been confirmed by Bulls media relations staff at KC Johnson NBC Sports Chicago.

Why an extension? Because Donovan and the head of the basketball department, Arturas Karnishovas, have a close relationship, writes Johnson.

Karnishovas’ unwavering faith in Donovan is based on his leadership and communication skills. The two men talk almost daily, and there is never any misunderstanding in their common direct conversation, even when the topic becomes difficult.

And not everything was or remains smooth sailing for the Bulls, who played without Lonzo Ball from January and start from 9-11 in the season with modest external expectations.

No details about the length of the extension have been made public.

This is a decision about stability. Donovan is a good coach and the front office trusts him. That’s enough to get a few extra years on his Chicago contract.

The Bulls’ problems aren’t with Donovan, but rather with a roster that has a “playoff team but nothing more” ceiling—a ceiling that’s lower this season due to injuries forcing constant rotation changes. The Bulls are suffering especially without Lonzo Ball’s defense and transition game (still out of action after another knee operation). Chicago has defended well this season without Ball (10th in the league), but offense is in the bottom 10 and misses the easy baskets that Ball helps get with his passes and crosses (plus he can knock down a few triples). Donovan has done a decent job with the players he has.

In Chicago, that’s enough to get a few more years.

Three Things is NBC’s five-day coverage of last night in the NBA. Verify Every weekday morning for what you missed the night before, plus the gossip, drama, and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.

1) Luka Doncic looks like an MVP, but can he continue like this?

Luka Doncic vs. Stephen Curry.

The schedulers gave us the MVP nominees at the start of the season, as well as two guys who have had to carry a huge load this season waiting for their teams to gather around them. Lately curry has become more than Clay Thompson started to recover, and some rotation changes improved off-the-bench play.

Luka is still on an island the size of Brunson, waiting for help. Tuesday night this island got smaller when Spencer Dinwiddie was thrown out for elbowing the Warriors in the face Jordan Pool.

It just meant more Doncic, and he reminded everyone why nobody wants to play the Mavericks in the playoffs with a 41-point triple-double (12 rebounds, 12 assists).

Doncic was a force of nature, although Curry had a chance in the final 10 seconds but was called to travel (a challenge disputed by the Warriors).

The Mavericks won 116–113. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas, but that was Luka Doncic’s show.

Doncic has been asked to carry a huge load for Dallas this season. He has a usage rate of 38 during the first quarter of the season, a number that would be in the top 10 of all time (roughly 1987 Michael Jordan and 2006 Kobe Bryant).

How long can Doncic do this without starting to wear out? No risk of injury? Sure, those other players like Jordan and Kobe have made it through the entire season, but they also haven’t made the playoffs that Dallas is hoping for. After leaving EuroBasket, Doncic started this season in the best shape he’s ever been in to start an NBA campaign, but there were stretches of time where he started to look exhausted. And there are nights like Tuesday when he leads the Mavericks to victory and looks unstoppable.

Doncic is young, but being asked to take on that burden would also put a limit on how good this team can be. Curry gets this help. Giannis Antetokounmpo also publishes historical usage percentages for this season, but Chris Middleton will return to the Bucks and take on some of that workload. Mavericks touted Christian Wood as an answer, but he comes off the bench and his defense is not favored by Jason Kidd. This one-man show is bigger than ever in Dallas.

If the Mavs want to win the postseason, it can’t just be Luca’s show. But during the regular season for a few nights this is enough. At least until it wears out.

2) Damian Lillard back Sunday, not soon enough for the Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are missing Damian Lillard (calf sprain, second of the season) – they are 1-4 in the current five-game stretch without him, showing their worst defense of the season. The last of these defeats was a loss to the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard or Paul George – was perhaps the team’s worst defeat of the season. Anferny Simons scored 37 points, the Trail Blazers led by 18 points in the second half, and yet they lost to a team whose best offensive weapon was Nicholas Batum (32 points).

The good news for the Blazers is that Lillard should be back on Sunday…


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