By R.L. Bynum
With the Dallas Mavericks resting all their regulars in their last game of the season, Theo Pinson got his first career start and took full advantage of the opportunity.
Pinson produced his first career triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in 40 minutes, all career-highs, in the Mavericks’ 138–117 home loss Sunday to the San Antonio Spurs.
Pinson became the fourth player in NBA history to collect at least that many points, rebounds and assists to not commit a turnover. The others were James Harden in 2021, Grant Hill in 1996 and Lafayette “Fat” Lever in 1988.
Pinson was 8 of 16 from the floor, making five of 10 3-point attempts and both three-throw attempts.
Pinson, who also had a steal, is the only active Tar Heel with an NBA triple-double and the first to achieve one since Ty Lawson did it for Sacramento on April 11, 2017, with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a 129–104 win over Phoenix. Before that, Raymond Felton also did it as a Dallas Maverick with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 114–111 loss to Washington on Dec. 12, 2015.
The closest Pinson came to a triple-double in his Carolina career was when he collected 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in a 78–59 ACC Tournament victory in 2018 over Syracuse.
Pinson and Felton are two of only 14 Mavericks to put up triple-doubles. Luka Dončić leads the way with 56 and Dallas coach Jason Kidd has 21. Pinson is the first Maverick other than Dončić to record a 20, 12, 12 triple-double since 1999.
The leader among UNC alums in NBA triple-doubles is, of course, Michael Jordan with 28. Billy Cunningham had 14, Vince Carter five and Felton had two.
After playing 252 minutes all season before this weekend, Pinson played 70 in the Mavericks’ last two games.
His previous career scoring high was 19 points against New York for Brooklyn on Jan. 25, 2019. His previous-best rebounding game was eight twice, the last for Brooklyn against Milwaukee on Jan. 4, 2019. His top assists game previously was eight for Brooklyn against Boston on Nov. 27, 2019.
Pinson’s career-high at Carolina was 25 points with 11 rebounds in Carolina’s 82–65 victory over Miami in the 2018 ACC tournament. His best rebounding game was 15 when he scored 22 in a 95–91 overtime home loss to N.C. State on Jan. 27, 2018.
His college assist high was 11, which he dished out twice: when he scored 12 points Feb. 27, 2018, in a 91–88 home loss to Miami and when he had four points and seven rebounds in a season-ending 86–65 loss to Texas A&M on March 18, 2018, in the second round of the NCAA tournament, his last game as a Tar Heel.
Reggie Bullock was among the Dallas regulars who didn’t play in the game.
The Mavericks finished 38–44, finishing two games out of the final Western Conference play-in tournament spot. Dallas will have the 10th-best odds of winning the draft lottery at 14%.
Photo via @dallasmavs