DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The scoring reputation of rookie sensation Luka Doncic keeps growing, and so does Maxi Kleber’s penchant for blocking shots.
The duo did all the right things to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-101 Friday night. Doncic scored 32 points and Kleber hit a crucial 3-pointer after blocking a shot by Blake Griffin.
This marked Griffin’s eighth 30 point game in the past 11 games. He went on to score 35, but couldn’t get a key bucket when trying to back down Kleber. After Griffin’s attempt to save the ball inbounds was picked up by Doncic, he found Kleber alone at the 3-point line.
Initially, Kleber’s fourth three-pointer gave Dallas a 100-97 lead, but the score changed to 100-95 on the subsequent timeout. A review showed a shot-clock violation on Andre Drummond’s basket, taking those two points from the Pistons.
“That was a tough one,” said Drummond. “They waited so long to take it away too and it got down to pretty much the three-minute mark before they finally got a chance to look at it. We can’t control things like that.”
Dallas got its 18th win in 24 home games in the first of two games between teams with matching 21-26 records.
“The game was won at the defensive end, which was great to see,” said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. “It was a game we have to have as we try to claw our way back into the playoff picture.”
Detroit had a chance to tie when Stanley Johnson missed a 3-pointer, and DeAndre Jordan dunked over Drummond for the second time. This one was made possible off of on an assist from Doncic, who had eight rebounds and eight assists.
Kleber’s fourth and final block came on a dunk attempt by Drummond, and Doncic hit a fadeaway jumper for his fifth 30-point game and a 104-97 lead with 1:18 remaining.
Kleber, a player from Germany, took over the team lead for blocks with 55. The 26-year-old has two more than Jordan, who was one of the league’s top shot-blockers earlier in his career.
Kleber got to work early, but it didn’t matter as much when Griffin soared over him for a spectacular dunk in the final minute.
“I always try to see where the guy’s taking off and then I judge, ‘Can he dunk it or not?'” said Kleber. “I didn’t want to make the foul because I had five already, so I kind of twist to the side. I was like, ‘No, he’s not going to make that.’ Well, he dunked that.”
Drummond, who returned after missing three games with a concussion, got the better of Jordan in the battle of the NBA’s top two rebounders and two of the league leaders in double-doubles. However, Jordan made the clutch plays late.
Detroit’s big man had 23 points and 15 rebounds for his 37th double-double, while Jordan scored 13 points with 11 boards for his 30th double-double.
The Mavs look to continue their winning streak at home against the Toronto Raptors Sunday in the second of seven straight games against Eastern Conference teams.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)