Mavs, Doncic again take aim at Warriors

The Dallas Mavericks will attempt to become the first team since 1962 to score 140 or more points three times in the same season against the Golden State Warriors when the clubs meet for the third and final time Tuesday night in San Francisco.Led by Luka Doncic, who has recorded a triple-double in each game, the Mavericks have run up 142-94 and 141-121 victories over the Warriors this season.Only two opponents — the Cincinnati Royals and Syracuse Nationals — have scored 140 or more three times in the same season against the Warriors, and both accomplished the feat in 1962, the franchise’s final season in Philadelphia.The Royals’ rampage against the Warriors in 1962 was led by Oscar Robertson, who recorded six triple-doubles against the club in that season alone.Robertson had three or more triple-doubles against the Warriors in six different seasons, the final time in 1965. The only other Warriors opponent to three-peat against them was Magic Johnson in 1990.In the opener of a two-day, two-game trip, Doncic has a chance to end that 30-year drought, after having gone for 35 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the 142-94 romp at Dallas in November, and 31 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists in the 141-121 blitz the last time the clubs met at Golden State in December.The second-year standout has since added triple-doubles against Charlotte and Chicago, and currently leads the league with 11.Doncic also had a triple-double against Golden State as a rookie last season. It came in March, the clubs’ final of four head-to-heads, meaning he’s now recorded the triple in three straight meetings.He missed a 12th of this season by two rebounds Saturday when the Mavericks bounced back from consecutive losses to Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers with an impressive 109-91 home blowout of the Philadelphia 76ers.”We needed it a lot. We needed it badly,” Doncic told reporters afterward. “They’re one of the top teams in the East, so I think we show[ed] we can play against everybody. We’ve just got to do it constantly.”Tim Hardaway Jr. added 12 points in the win. He has averaged 16 points per game since returning from a hamstring injury four games ago.Hardaway, the son of former Warriors star Tim Hardaway Sr., scorched Golden State for 20 and 25 points in the two earlier wins.It appears the Mavericks will go an eighth straight game without Kristaps Porzingis, who was suffering from an illness at practice Monday as he attempted to return from a sore right knee.The Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell countered the Mavericks’ assault with 35 points in the December loss, but it wasn’t nearly enough.He’s now scored 30 or more in three straight games — including the meeting with the Mavericks — sandwiching a six-game layoff because of a sore shoulder.Russell returned from the injury to score 34 in Sunday’s 122-102 loss at Memphis, Golden State’s eighth consecutive defeat, one that dropped the team to 9-32 at the midpoint of the season after the Warriors had reached that point with 35, 37, 35, 33 and 27 wins in coach Steve Kerr’s first five seasons.”It’s been a tough first half of the season,” Kerr admitted to reporters after Sunday’s loss. “But there’s a lot to play for. We’re playing for our future, individually and collectively. So guys understand that, and we’ve got to try and find some footing here as we enter the second half of the season and try to get some momentum.”