Luka Doncic’s below-the-belt swipe at Collin Sexton earned him an ejection on Sunday night. It didn’t slow down the Dallas Mavericks against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Doncic received a flagrant-two foul, an automatic ejection, early in the second half for hitting Sexton with “an aggressive strike to the groin area,” according to lead official David Guthrie. It occurred while jostling for position under the Cleveland basket.
“I knew I hit him, but I didn’t know where until I saw the replay,” Doncic said. “It wasn’t nothing on purpose. That stuff happens a lot in the game. It was just two guys fighting for a rebound, I guess.”
Sexton, who initiated the original contact, said there were no hard feelings because it was “just a basketball play at the end of the day.”
“Whenever somebody hand-checks, you usually punch down [like Doncic did], so it was all good,” Sexton said. “It was just a box-out play.”
Doncic has 15 technical fouls this season, one shy of a mandatory one-game suspension from the NBA. “I’m not really going to comment on Luka’s ejection because I didn’t see it closely enough,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s unfortunate, but it sparked our guys.”
Tim Hardaway Jr scored 25 points and Josh Richardson had 20, allowing playoff-bound Dallas to overcome the loss of Doncic and roll to a 124-97 victory over the Cavaliers. Dallas extended their lead to a game over Portland in the battle for fifth place in the Western Conference.
Elsewhere, Anthony Davis had 42 points and 12 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in a 123-110 win over the Phoenix Suns. LeBron James missed his fourth straight game for Los Angeles because of a sprained right ankle, and Kyle Kuzma was held out because of tightness in his back.
An energized Davis led the way for the defending NBA champions as they try to avoid the play-in tournament.