DALLAS — Luka Doncic had 34 points and nine rebounds and Kristaps Porzingis scored 23 points in the European pair’s long-awaited first game together, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 108-100 victory over the Washington Wizards in the season opener Wednesday night.
Porzingis missed his first four shots before taking a break and coming back to score nine points in the final 2:45 of the first quarter. The 7-foot-3 Latvian acquired in a blockbuster deal with the New York Knicks before the trading deadline last season was 7 of 16 from the field.
Doncic and Porzingis traded long 3-pointers throughout the game, finishing 7 of 16 between them (4 of 9 for Doncic, 3 of 7 for Porzingis). Doncic was 12 of 19 overall to help the Mavericks win their opener for the first time in four years.
The Slovenian guard and reigning NBA rookie of the year could have played with Porzingis last season, but the Mavericks decided to let the 2018 All-Star continue recovering from a knee injury in what ended up being his final game for the Knicks 20 months ago.
Washington rookie Rui Hachimura, the first Japanese-born player drafted in the first round, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. The ninth overall pick out of Gonzaga scored his first points before Porzingis hit his first bucket as a Maverick.
Bradley Beal scored 19 points less than a week after the All-Star guard signed a $72 million, two-year extension that will go through the 2022-23 season, with a player option after that. The Wizards are without his backcourt mate, John Wall, who tore an Achilles tendon last December.
After a fourth quarter filled with pushing and shoving between Beal and Doncic, Beal was ejected when he was called for a second technical foul after they were whistled for double technicals during an exchange.
The Wizards had rallied from 23 points down starting the fourth to get within seven when Beal was tossed. Not long after, Porzingis had a one-handed dunk on an alley-oop from Jalen Brunson to help the Mavericks finish off the win.
The first look for Dallas fans at the Doncic-Porzingis pairing came in the Mavericks’ first game at American Airlines Center without German star Dirk Nowitzki.
Their last home game without the only NBA player to spend all 21 seasons with the same franchise was April 14, 1998, a 111-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Reunion Arena. Nowitzki retired at 40 after last season as the league’s highest-scoring foreign-born player.
Wizards: Moritz Wagner was 3 of 4 on 3-pointers and scored 13 points before the second-year player fouled out with three minutes left in his Washington debut. … Thomas Bryant had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Mavericks: Dallas still isn’t sure how much longer Dwight Powell will be out with a left hamstring strain sustained early in training camp. The sixth-year player is expected to start at centre when he’s ready. … G Tim Hardaway Jr. left the game in the second quarter after injuring his right ankle but returned before halftime.
Wizards: At Oklahoma City on Friday night. The three-game trip is the club’s longest to open the season since 1983-84. The Southwest swing end in San Antonio with the first back-to-back. It’s the only visit to all three places for the Wizards in the regular season.
Mavericks: At New Orleans on Friday night.