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Sports News

Porzingis close as Mavs get set to face Clippers

After missing 10 games with right knee soreness, Kristaps Porzingis could return Tuesday when the Dallas Mavericks host the Los Angeles Clippers.

FILE PHOTO: Jan 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) warms up before the game between the Mavericks and the Lakers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“The way I’m feeling, I don’t see why there should be any hurdles,” said Porzingis after participating in a full practice Sunday, according to the Dallas Morning News. “But you never know, so I’m just putting in the work, making sure the knee is strong, the leg is strong.”

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averaged 17.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1. blocks before being sidelined.

“We have (Monday) and then we’ll see where we are for Tuesday, but (Sunday) was good,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, according to the team’s website. “He was out there the whole time he competed. We did some live stuff, which he was in, so good stuff.”

The Mavericks, who were 6-4 during Porzingis’ absence, have now won four consecutive games, the latest a 120-112 home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. Luka Doncic converted a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 35 points with eight rebounds and seven assists for Dallas. Doncic is one triple-double shy of tying Jason Kidd’s career club mark of 21.

Doncic took 12 3-point attempts and hit 11 of 23 shots from the floor. He has averaged 28.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and nine assists per game. He was third in the league in scoring and assists through Sunday’s games.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 29 points, while Seth Curry added 16 off the bench for the Mavericks against the Blazers.

Kawhi Leonard topped 30 or more points for the fifth straight game, scoring 39 to lift the Clippers over the host New Orleans Pelicans 133-130 on Saturday. Leonard, who is averaging 36 points per game in the past five contests, also had six boards, six assists and five steals.

“Making shots. It’s simple as that. Making shots,” said Leonard told reporters afterward after making 15 of 28 attempts. “My teammates are being more aggressive, being assertive and that’s it.”

Lou Williams, whose 3-pointer with 31.6 seconds remaining was the difference, contributed 32 points and Montrezl Harrell scored 24 off the bench for the Clippers, winners of three straight and five of their last six. The Clippers prevailed by rallying in the second half after allowing the Pelicans to tie a franchise record with 80 points in the first half.

Paul George missed his fifth consecutive game with a strained left hamstring. George isn’t expected to return against the Mavericks, but Clippers coach Doc Rivers hopes the six-time All-Star forward can play before the end of the current five-game road swing that began in New Orleans.

“He’s coming along,” Rivers said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Hopefully at some point he’ll rejoin us on the trip, but right now we just felt it’d be better for him to stay back and just keep getting treatment.”

The Clippers captured a 114-99 decision on Nov. 26 at Dallas. Leonard scored 28 points and George finished with 26 and a career-best six steals. Doncic managed 22 points on 4-of-14 shooting, eight rebounds and six assists. He committed seven turnovers.

--Field Level Media

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