Luke Walton, Luka Doncic exchange words after Kings coach appears to tell Mavs star to give ref an autograph

Jason Anderson, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Basketball

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic missed more than two weeks with an ankle injury, but he wasn't going to miss an opportunity to torment the Kings.

Doncic returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a sprained right ankle, nearly posting a triple-double to lead the Mavericks to a 130-109 victory over the Kings on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Doncic finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, just missing his 13th triple-double of the season, and he had words with Kings coach Luke Walton before he was done.

Doncic was listed as questionable going into the game, but he told reporters on Tuesday he planned to play against the Kings, the team that passed on him with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. Doncic exchanged words with Walton after Walton received a technical foul at the end of the third quarter, apparently because Walton asked Doncic to give one of the officials an autograph because "he's a fan of yours."

It was not immediately clear what led to the exchange, but Doncic pointed at Walton, saying: "Don't do that." Doncic later stared Walton down after draining a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter.

"He said something that I didn't like about me," Doncic told FSN Southwest after the game.

Walton said he didn't say anything to Doncic, suggesting Doncic might have misunderstood something he said to an official.

"I have all the respect in the world for him," Walton said. "He got what he wanted tonight, wherever he wanted, so I wasn't saying anything to him. I don't know if he thought I said something to him, but he had a great game, he's a great player and he led his team to victory. ... I wouldn't have said anything. What can you say?"

Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 posted video from NBC Sports California that appeared to show Walton saying: "Hey, Luka, do me a favor. Give him your autograph after the game. He's a fan. He's a fan of yours."

In the Mavericks locker room, Doncic told reporters the exchange with Walton was "nothing special," the kind of thing that "happens every game."


Chants of "M-V-P" filled the arena repeatedly as Doncic stepped to the free-throw line to add to his point total in the second half. Doncic has a big weekend ahead of him. The 20-year-old Slovenian sensation will start for Team LeBron in Sunday's All-Star Game in Chicago.

Doncic was named Rookie of the Year last season, but this is his first All-Star Game. Going into Wednesday's contest, he was averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists.

Kristaps Porzingis posted 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Mavericks (33-22), who are sixth in the Western Conference playoff race. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 points. Seth Curry had 18.

Buddy Hield scored 22 points to lead the Kings (21-33). De'Aaron Fox had 16. Kent Bazemore added 15.

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