DALLAS -- Mavericks star Luka Doncic needed three stitches to repair a laceration on his head suffered in a collision late in a 119-110 overtime loss to the Lakers on Friday night, but the team's medical staff determined he did not have a concussion.
The laceration occurred when Doncic and Lakers center Dwight Howard collided while chasing a loose ball that was rebounded by Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith with 1 minute, 49 seconds remaining in regulation.
Doncic received treatment on the laceration from Casey Smith, the Mavs' director of player health and performance, and iced his head during each of the three timeouts in the remainder of regulation. Doncic played the rest of the game with the exception of the final 6.4 seconds of regulation, when he was substituted out because of a defensive strategy.
"I felt a little bit weird a few minutes after the hit, but then it was OK," said Doncic, who finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists in a thrilling duel with childhood idol LeBron James. "There was nothing to worry about. ... It was a little headache. I had a little headache for a few minutes, but then it was over. I put some ice on it, and it was better."
Doncic said he was twice evaluated for a concussion -- once on the bench and again after the game.
The NBA's concussion policy states that a player suspected of having a concussion or exhibiting any related signs or symptoms will be "removed from participation by either a team physician or the player's team athletic trainer and undergo evaluation in a quiet, distraction-free environment conducive to conducting a neurological evaluation."
Doncic, who drove the lane and dished to Finney-Smith for a go-ahead 3-pointer two possessions after the collision, said leaving the game was not a consideration.
"Everybody knows I want to play in overtime," Doncic said. "I wanted to play, in any case. I wanted to end the game."
The play on which the collision occurred was one of several no-calls that upset Doncic and the Mavs.
"Well, he was trying to draw a foul on me," Howard said. "He tried to get to me and draw the foul, so I'm glad they let that one go. I hope he's OK."
Doncic said he didn't know who hit him from behind to cause his laceration but strongly believed a loose-ball foul should have been called.
He also complained to referee Mark Lindsay about being hit in the face by James on a pass that resulted in a turnover in the opening minute of overtime, pointing to his face and the back of his head repeatedly during a conversation with the official while James shot the free throws that put the Lakers up nine points with less than a minute left.
"I was just asking if I got hit in the head, how's that not a foul?" said Doncic, who on multiple occasions showed referees scratches on his arms after drives that didn't result in foul calls, once leading to a stoppage in play for infectious disease control because he was bleeding. "Just should have concentrated on the game and not talked to the refs. That was my fault."
Coach Rick Carlisle agreed with his team's 20-year-old star.
"I was upset too, but I'm not going to spend 50 grand to criticize," Carlisle said. "It just doesn't make sense. These are hard games. I don't know what else to say. They're hard games, and they're very emotional. It's tough. It's tough when you think you're getting hit and the whistle's not blowing."
The Mavs also were upset that Howard wasn't called for an illegal screen that freed up Danny Green for the overtime-forcing 3-pointer in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Howard clearly grabbed Mavs guard Seth Curry from behind with both hands to prevent Curry from getting into the passing lane, a play that unfolded after Dallas failed to execute Carlisle's plan to foul before the Lakers had a chance to shoot.
"Even so, I knew what play was coming," Curry said. "I knew exactly what was going to happen. I'm still there to take away that pass, and then [Howard] grabbed me and it was a no-call right in front of the official. It's just unfortunate."
On Saturday, the NBA Last Two Minute Report acknowledged that the call was missed and that Howard should have been whistled for an offensive foul.