A dunk attempt turned disastrous for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Thursday night.
With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Doncic went left around a screen before accelerating — and elevating — toward the basket for a dunk. But Doncic made contact with Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas as Brandon Ingram blocked his attempt, forcing Doncic to fall to the ground and eventually exit with a right heel contusion.
His right foot had hit the court first before the rest of his body followed. According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Doncic shook his head when glancing over at Dallas head coach Jason Kidd, indicating to Kidd that he needed a substitution.
Before his exit, Doncic already had scored 31 points in nearly 23 minutes of playing time. That marked the “fewest minutes he’s played in a 30-point game in his career,” according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Mavericks led New Orleans by 26 points when Doncic left, but the Pelicans ultimately stormed back before Dallas closed out a 111-106 victory.
Doncic’s past week already had included a game missed (ankle) and a 53-point outburst against the Pistons, where he connected on 17-of-24 shots and made 5-of-11 3-pointers in Dallas’ win.
In his fifth NBA season, the former No. 3 overall selection has averaged 33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, with four 50-point games — including one 60-point outburst against the Knicks on Dec. 27.
With the win Thursday night, Dallas moved 28-25 this season, still situated within the Western Conference playoff standings, while New Orleans fell to 26-27. The status of the Mavericks’ star, though, will loom large heading into showdowns against the Warriors and Jazz — both competing for the conference’s final postseason spots — on Saturday and Monday, respectively.