By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 26 points and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated before a ceremony to retire Dirk Nowitzki’s number by beating cold-shooting Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors 99-82 on Wednesday night.
The Mavericks knew the night belonged to their franchise icon, and that Nowitzki’s No. 41 wasn’t going to the rafters until after they played the team with the NBA’s best record coming in.
Dallas responded with its first four-game winning streak of the season in Doncic’s third game back since a career-long, 10-game absence caused by left ankle and knee issues and a positive COVID-19 test.
Playing without European sidekick Kristaps Porzingis, who went into the health and safety protocols just as Doncic came out, Dallas’ 22-year-old sensation played aggressively and was 10 of 12 on free throws with eight assists and seven rebounds.
The only concern for the Mavericks was Doncic limping off the floor in the final two minutes and not returning.
Curry was coming off his worst shooting night of the season and wasn’t much better, going 5 of 24, including 1 of 9 from 3-point range, to finish with 14 points.
After missing all five attempts from deep before halftime, Curry connected nine seconds into the second half but couldn’t keep it going as Golden State missed a chance to be the first team to 30 victories and had a season low in points.
Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points for Golden State. At 29-8, the Warriors dropped into a tie with the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA.
Dorian Finney-Smith scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and had nine rebounds and two blocks — one when he stripped Draymond Green on a dunk attempt and the other when Curry drove for a layup.
The Warriors were down nine but getting stops late in the fourth quarter when Curry missed badly from 3, and Jalen Brunson scored the next four points to put Dallas up 13. Brunson finished with 15 points. The Warriors shot a season-worst 18% from 3 (5 of 28).
Golden State offered its tribute to Nowitzki in a video during a third-quarter timeout. There were recorded messages from Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Andre Iguodala and Green, who joked about two pump-fakes from an aging Nowitzki on the same sequence that fooled him as the video showed the highlight.
Nowitzki made a halftime appearance to a loud cheer for a check presentation to his foundation from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Warriors: Gary Payton II had his third career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, one off his career high in boards. … Otto Porter Jr. (left foot) and Andre Iguodala (right knee) both sat the front end of a back-to-back. … The club is hopeful assistant Kenny Atkinson can travel starting next week. He’s been confined to home games because of a leg injury. … C James Wiseman made the trip and doing light work with the team. He hasn’t played this season coming off knee surgery last spring.
Mavericks: Porzingis missed his second game because of COVID-19 protocols while Boban Marjanovic was sidelined for a fifth straight game and Trey Burke his eighth. … Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 14 points, and Maxi Kleber had 10 rebounds.
Warriors: At New Orleans to finish a back-to-back Thursday night. Golden State is 3-2 on the second night of back-to-backs.
Mavericks: At Houston on Friday night.
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