DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 30 points and 14 assists with former teammate Dirk Nowitzki watching as a retiree for the first time, and the Dallas Mavericks routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 143-101 on Friday night.
Nowitzki stayed away for the first eight Dallas home games after setting an NBA record of 21 seasons with the same franchise while finishing last season as the highest-scoring foreign-born player in league history.
The big German got a standing ovation when shown on the video board in the first quarter from his courtside seat next to owner Mark Cuban.
It was Nowitzki’s first live look at Dallas’ new European pairing of Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 Latvian who missed his five shots but made his last six, finishing with 17 points and four blocks.
Nowitzki gave a hint that he might be on the way by tweeting about the traffic near his old home arena on the street that was renamed in his honor before the season started.
Rookie Darius Garland scored a career-high 23 points for the Cavaliers, who lost their sixth straight game while getting swept in a second consecutive season series against Dallas. Cleveland lost at home by 20 early this month.
Doncic is still waiting to record three straight triple-doubles for the first time. For the third time in the rookie of the year’s two seasons, the 20-year-old Slovenian fell short, finishing with seven rebounds while sitting all of the fourth quarter for the second straight game.
Porzingis also was on the bench the whole fourth two nights after Dallas led Golden State by 50 points in the second half of a 142-94 win. The final margin of 42 was also the Mavericks’ biggest lead against the Cavaliers.
Dallas (10-5) moved five games above .500 for the first time since late in the 2015-16 season, which ended up being Nowitzki’s final trip to the playoffs after leading the franchise to its only championship in 2011.
Tim Hardaway Jr. gave Cleveland coach John Beilein another a reminder of his Michigan days. Hardaway scored 16 points two days after another of Beilein’s former Wolverines, Duncan Robinson, scored a career-high 29 points in Miami’s 124-100 victory.
The Mavericks took control with a 16-0 run while Doncic was on the bench in the first half, turning a 26-24 deficit into a 40-26 lead. Justin Jackson hit two 3-pointers early in the run.
Cavaliers: Garland’s previous high was 15 against Washington on Nov. 8. He was 5 of 7 from long range. ... Tristan Thompson had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists after missing a game for rest. ... Cedi Osman was 4 of 6 from 3 and scored 18 points.
Mavericks: G Seth Curry missed a second straight game with an illness. ... Hardaway was 4 of 5 on 3-pointers as Dallas shot 54% from long range (20 of 37). Doncic was 4 of 8 from 3 and 11 of 18 overall.
Cavaliers: Portland at home Saturday to finish second back-to-back in a week.
Mavericks: At Houston on Sunday.