DALLAS — Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic will be suspended for Sunday’s regular-season finale unless the NBA office overturns the technical foul ruled against him after the first quarter of Friday night’s 128-78 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was officially Doncic’s 16th technical foul of the season, triggering an automatic one-game suspension. Doncic had another technique this season that was overruled after a routine review by the league office. Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs could determine whether the Mavs get the third or fourth seed in the Western Conference. Dallas (51-30) is half a game behind the third-placed Golden State Warriors (51-29) and holds the tiebreaker. The Warriors still have games in San Antonio and New Orleans.
“If you ask me, I think he should be canceled 100 per cent because it wasn’t technology at all,” said Doncic, who picked up 17 technical fouls last season but avoided a suspension because two were cancelled. “No warning, nothing. I just asked him, ‘How is that not a call?’ Hope it will be [rescinded]so I can play on Sunday.”
Doncic was upset that a foul hadn’t been called on his half court late in the first quarter, when the Mavs had a 36-13 lead over the Blazers. Doncic was undermined from behind by Portland’s Elijah Hughes on the play and pleaded his case to referee Tom Washington while on his back.
After getting up, Doncic walked across the field to speak to team manager Tony Brothers, although Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith tried to hold him back. The brothers called Doncic for technical seconds later.
“At the end of the quarter he shot and he felt he was fouled,” Brothers said in a post-game pool report. “He started complaining to every one of the officials. When I walked up to the table, he was 15 feet in the backcourt and always complaining, so he had a technique for complaining continuously.”
When asked if profanity was used, Brothers replied, “There was none.”
“Honestly, I don’t know why I had a technician,” said Doncic, who had 39 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists before coming through the fourth quarter in the blowout victory. “I asked him, ‘How is that not a foul?’ and he just got me a tech. So I don’t really know how I got a tech there.
The Mavs clinched first-round home-court advantage with the win. Dallas coach Jason Kidd said he doubts the league will overrule the technical but downplayed concern over Doncic missing Sunday’s game with the third seed potentially on the line.
“It is what it is. It’s over,” Kidd said. “We’re going to prepare for San Antonio. If he can play, he plays. If he can’t, he goes to the playoffs. It’s okay.”
The brothers ejected Kidd in Dallas’ loss to the Washington Wizards on April 1, calling Kidd for two quick techniques.
“Tony, he kicked me out as a player and now he kicked me out as a coach,” said Kidd, who had not been sent off this season. “What I said to him was, ‘Whose ball is it? And he took it personal, unfortunately, and kicked me out. It happens.”