The fan at the center of controversy during the Clippers’ first visit to Dallas this season was nowhere to be seen upon their return Tuesday to American Airlines Center.
Don Knobler was suspended by Dallas after Clippers guard Patrick Beverley said Knobler insulted him and his mother by using profanity on several occasions during the Dec. 2 game, according to two sources unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The Mavericks declined to comment on how long the suspension will last. According to the sources, Knobler was suspended from the arena through February’s All-Star break. ESPN.com reported Knobler was banned through the end of this season after a team investigation supported Beverley’s claims.
Beverley declined to comment before Tuesday’s tipoff and Knobler did not return messages left at his home and business.
Beverley was fined $25,000 by the NBA following the December matchup after he bounced a pass into the courtside seats along the baseline, where Knobler was sitting. After a review by officials, Beverley was ejected.
“I’m a grown man but you know, you bring family into it, especially in a basketball game, it’s only so much you can tolerate as a man,” Beverley said after his Dec. 2 ejection "... Anybody who knows me, man, knows I’m a family-first guy and there are some things that are unacceptable. If no one is going to control fans what are we supposed to do as players?”
Praise for Doncic
Clippers coach Doc Rivers has not been shy this season about complimenting Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, calling the 19-year-old Slovenian his favorite player to watch.
“His leadership, his clutch stats, his passing and he does everything,” Rivers said. “His will to win, he drives the team. Watching the game yesterday [during a Dallas loss in Milwaukee] when he was off the floor, it was a big freaking difference. …
“Magic Johnson walked on the floor and did that. But very few have changed the dynamic of their team and I think he’s done that.”
By the numbers Doncic is even better than those two. Doncic, who was fined $10,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for kicking a ball into the stands three days earlier against Indiana, is on pace to join Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson as only the third NBA rookie to ever average at least 20 points, six rebounds and five assists for an entire season.
Doncic scored 17 points Tuesday but made only five of 15 shots and missed all eight threes he attempted, failing to make one for the first time this season.
Forward Danilo Gallinari missed his second consecutive game while recovering from back spasms. Gallinari remains in Los Angeles, where he is receiving treatment. The team hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Gallinari could join it during the trip, which concludes Friday in Chicago, but Rivers did not provide a timeline for his return.
Team trainers “will say ‘Gal is playing’ and I say ‘OK,’” Rivers said. “I’ve gotten out of the medical business even though I carry the doctor title. The malpractice insurance for me was too high.”
When: 4:30 p.m. PST, Wednesday.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Update: Clippers reserves average a league-leading 51.4 points a game and the Heat rank fourth at 44.4. Josh Richardson is averaging a team-high 17.8 points a game for the Heat (22-23), who have lost three of their last four games. Since Miami’s 121-98 win over the Clippers on Dec. 8, forward Justise Winslow is shooting 37% on three-pointers and averaging 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Wednesday will mark Erik Spoelstra’s 850th game coached with Miami, moving him past Pat Riley for the most in franchise history. Spoelstra already owns the franchise’s coaching records for victories and winning percentage.