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Luka Doncic is at the center of most Mavericks victories, but Dallas took both games in the home-and-home series without the MVP candidate making much of a difference.
Doncic handed out a season-low one assist on Friday night and got the heave-ho early in the third quarter on Sunday. It barely mattered as the Mavericks pulled away after intermission as they had in the previous contest – running Cleveland’s losing skid to 10 games with the 124-97 decision at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
On Friday night, it was Dallas’ bench that proved to be the deciding factor. The Cavs got better production from their reserves on Sunday, but their three frontline starters combined for just 16 points in the loss.
In fact, three of Cleveland’s five double-figure scorers came off the bench – with Brodric Thomas, Damyean Dotson and Mfiondu Kabengele combining for 37 of the Cavs’ 45 bench points on Sunday.
Collin Sexton led the Wine & Gold with 24 points on Sunday, going 8-of-19 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 5-of-7 from the stripe – adding a team-high seven assists and three boards.
Kabengele, who arrived on a 10-day deal in early April, followed up with a career-high 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go with four boards and a pair of boards.
Thomas finished with 13 points in 22 minutes of work off the bench – going 4-of-6 from the floor, drilling both three-pointers he attempted and registering the Cavaliers’ only two blocks of the night.
Isaac Okoro tallied double-figures for the eighth time in his last nine outings – finishing with 12 points on 5-for-15 shooting while dealing with foul trouble for much of the evening.
Dotson rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures, chipping in with 10 points 4-of-10 shooting, adding a pair of assists and a steal in 26 minutes off the bench.
Tim Hardaway Jr. followed a strong showing on Friday night with another on Sunday – leading both teams with 25 points, going 9-of-13 from the floor, including 7-of-11 from long-range. Josh Richardson followed up with 20 points.
Luka tallied 15 points, five boards and five assists before being ejected in the third.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Damyean Dotson waits for the right moment and attacks the rim where he finishes the play with a one-handed jam to end the first quarter.
On Sunday night, the Mavericks actually took over the game after Luka Doncic was thrown out.
Despite never leading on Sunday, the Wine & Gold remained within striking distance through the first two-and-a-half quarters. Dallas was up 11 – 68-57 – with 10:05 to play in the third quarter when the MVP got the boot after picking up a flagrant-2 for striking Collin Sexton below the belt.
But instead of falling apart, the Mavs turned it up – closing the third period on a 30-13 run after Sexton’s two free throws, taking a 26-point edge into the fourth quarter and cruising to the finish line from there.
By the Numbers - 23.7 … Collin Sexton’s scoring average over the past six games since returning to the lineup following a concussion – topping the 20-point plateau in five of them, shooting 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from deep over that stretch.
The 9th-ranked scorer in the Eastern Conference, Sunday’s showing marked Sexton’s 45th game this year of 20-plus and now has 106 for his career.
"It’s a good feeling to be out there on the floor and showcase my talent and my ability. It would be best if it led to a win at the end – so that’s been a little difficult adjusting. But the energy and the spirit is still high and the locker room is still connected. Being around these guys, I’m definitely influenced on how they carry themselves, how they want to go out and compete. So picking up the little things is how today happened. I wish it had led to a win."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
With Sunday’s loss to the Mavericks tipping off the three-game homestand, the Wine & Gold now just have five more games remaining this season.
On Monday night, the Cavs complete the back-to-back when the welcome the Pacers to town before wrapping up the home portion of the 2020-21 slate on Wednesday with a visit from the Celtics.
Cleveland closes out the season on the road next weekend – traveling to the nation’s capital for a Friday night matchup with the Wizards followed by the finale the following Sunday in Brooklyn.