Doncic suffered an apparent ankle injury with 44 seconds left in the match when he contested a layup by the Nuggets Austin Rivers, who then fell and landed on Doncic’s leg.
The arena instantly went from celebrating the victory to being silent with concern for their star player. His injury tainted what should have been a celebratory night for Maverick fans as they got their first win this season against a team with a winning record by a score of 111-101.
Maverick fans hope that Doncic, a first-team All-NBA selection the past two years, who has averaged 24.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game, will not have to miss much time.
The injury did not appear too serious, but he has already been ruled out for their next matchup on Wednesday when they visit Phoenix to play the Suns.
Dallas started this game on fire, which has been rare this season when slow starts have been common for the team. Both Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were instrumental to the hot start as the Mavericks scored 35 points in the first quarter.
It seemed as though the game would be a high-scoring affair even though Denver entered the game allowing the fewest points per game in the league at 98 points.
Denver’s top-ranked defense showed up in the second quarter to put the expectations of a high-scoring shootout in doubt. The Mavericks were held to a paltry 14 points, hitting just 22.7% of their shots in the frame. The Nuggets ended the quarter on a 14-5 run and entered halftime leading 58-49.
The Nuggets built a lead as large as 13 points in the third quarter, but Dallas was determined not to let this game slip away. They clawed to stay in the game and outscored the Nuggets 30-25 in the quarter to go into the fourth, trailing by only four points.
The game went entirely in the Mavericks’ favor when they opened the fourth quarter on a 17-6 run that included 3-pointers by Tim Hardaway Jr, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Reggie Bullock to take their largest lead to that point at 98-88 with six minutes left.
Dallas wound up blasting Denver 32-18 in the fourth quarter to win relatively comfortably by double digits after what looked bound to be a nail-biter. Much of the credit for the enormous fourth-quarter goes to Hardaway Jr., who scored 13 of his total 19 points in the final frame on 5-of-8 shooting, including two three-pointers.
Kristaps Porzingis led Dallas with 29 points and 11 rebounds, Doncic added 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Jalen Brunson scored 17 points off the bench. Dallas has now won four of their last five games, and their record sits at 9-4, including 6-1 at home.
For the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic was a force as he finished with a season-high 35 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. They saw their five-game win streak snapped and their record drop to 9-5 on the season.
The Mavericks’ next four games are on the road, starting with their Wednesday trip to play the red hot Suns, who are on a nine-game winning streak.