A Slovenian Show as Birthday Boy Luka Doncic (and his Thumb) Meet Dragic: Mavs GAMEDAY at Miami
Cue the “Happy Birthday” tune… Today is Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic’s 21st birthday! The best present for the 2018-19 NBA Rookie of the Year? A victory in Miami, of course!
Game Time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV/Radio: FSSW, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)
Records: Mavericks (36-23, 7th in West), Heat (24-32, 4th in East)
With momentum on their side from a San Antonio Spurs triumph, the Mavs travel to South Beach for a chance to avenge a December loss against the Miami Heat.
The Heat defeated the Mavericks on December 14th, 122-118 in overtime, after Doncic suffered an ankle sprain in the opening minutes.
Miami is lights out at home and Dallas is extraordinary on the road. The Heat have lost only four games at home, including a narrow loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. While the Heat own the third best winning percentage for home teams in the NBA, the Mavs have already beaten the top two teams this season (Philadelphia and Milwaukee).
Both teams need a win to push for NBA playoff seeding. Expect a battle.
Will he or won’t he? The Mavs released their official injury report on Feb. 27 and listed ‘Birthday Boy’ Luka Doncic as questionable to face the Miami Heat. They classified it as a left thumb sprain. Doncic was in obvious pain vs. the Spurs after his thumb was jammed and then hit again.
However, that didn’t stop Doncic from his 21st career history-making triple-double. He tied Jason Kidd for the most triple-doubles in Mavs' franchise history, doing so in just 119 games. It took Jason Kidd 500 games to set the same record for Dallas. Plus he hit the milestone against the Spurs, which should be extra points.
After the game, regarding his thumb, Doncic said he “didn’t think it was serious.''
Worth noting: A couple of thousand fans from Slovenia will attend tonight's game to root both for Doncic and for Goran Dragic, the Miami guard who happens to be an idol of Luka's. (And who was almost a Mavs last summer.) We'll imagine both will play - and will want to put on a Slovenian show.
Butler is in Doncic’s fan club: Earlier this month, when Miami star Jimmy Butler dropped a season-high 38 points in a win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers, Butler said he “felt like Luka out there,” in his postgame interview.
You’ve made it when Butler references your name as a standard for dazzling offense.
If Doncic plays, Butler defending Doncic is going to be must-see basketball.
Injury update: Mavs- Luka Doncic: Questionable (left thumb sprain), Jalen Brunson: OUT (shoulder), Willie Cauley-Stein: day-to-day (personal), Dwight Powell: out for season (Achilles).
Miami- Bam Adebayo: questionable (right ankle sprain), Kyle Alexander: OUT, Tyler Herro: OUT, Meyers Leonard: OUT, KZ Okpala: OUT, Gabe Vincent: OUT.
Number to know: The Heat own the highest three point percentage (40.3 percent) in the NBA at home.
Key to victory: Slow the Heat from beyond the arc.