MEXICO CITY (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — He greeted the Mexican crowd speaking flawless Spanish — then Luka Doncic hit the court and showed everyone his game nearly perfect as well.
Doncic scored 41 points and posted his eighth triple-double of the season, Seth Curry added a season-high 30 points off the bench and the Dallas Mavericks topped the Detroit Pistons 122-111 on Thursday night in the opener of the NBA Mexico Games.
Doncic finished with 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Mavericks, who at 17-7 are off to their best 24-game start since posting the same mark at this point of the 2014-15 season.
“He picked us apart,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.
Curry scored 18 points in the second quarter alone for Dallas. The Mavericks trailed by seven late in the first half, then went on a 14-0 run before intermission and eventually led by as many as 24.
Curry became the first Dallas reserve to score 30 off the bench since Jason Terry had 34 against San Antonio on Jan. 29, 2012.
“Even when Detroit was playing zone, our guys were making an effort to drive-and-kick, drive-and-kick and find Seth ultimately for the shot,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Real happy for him. He did everything. He drove it. He shot it. He made a couple good plays on the breaks. He made a couple good passes. He was a huge contributor tonight.”
Doncic’s eight triple-doubles already match his total from last season. Kristaps Porzingis added 20 points for the Mavericks, who outrebounded Detroit 52-34.
“I think we’re getting better and better every day,” Doncic said. “He’s going to get better. I’m going to get better. And with us two, the team is going to get way better.”
Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Derrick Rose scored 19 points and Markieff Morris added 16 for Detroit, which got 12 from Tony Snell and 10 apiece from Christian Wood and Blake Griffin.
“Back to the drawing board,” Casey said. “Dallas is a great team. Rick’s done a heck of a job with that team. But we missed a lot of shots that we normally make. And then defensively, I thought we missed a lot of rotations.”
It was the 29th game in Mexico since 1992, the most of any country other than the U.S. or Canada in that span and came on a night where the NBA announced that Capitanes — a Mexico City-based team in that country’s top pro league — will be joining the G League starting next season.
“Playing out here was incredible,” Drummond said. “The atmosphere was outstanding.”
Doncic addressed the Mexico City crowd pregame — to their delight — in flawless Spanish, before turning the microphone over to Griffin. “Hola, Mexico,” was the extent of Griffin’s Spanish offering, as he grinned and a very amused Doncic looked on standing a few feet away.
The night didn’t get much easier for Griffin from there: He shot just 3 for 16, and 1 for 10 from 3-point range.
Doncic, meanwhile, went on to post his second 40-point triple-double of the season. He’s the first player in NBA history to have multiple 40-point triple-doubles before turning 21; he doesn’t celebrate that birthday until Feb. 28.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)