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Monday, November 28, 2022
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Doncic Scores 30+ Again as Mavericks Win Fourth Straight


Luka Doncic, who continued his historic start to the season, scoring 36 points with six rebounds and six assists. | Image by Getty Images

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Mavericks fans who stayed up late were rewarded with a thrilling 96-94 Dallas victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at American Airlines Center.

The game tipped after 8:45 p.m. CT, much later than the usual start time of Dallas’ home games, because of the NBA’s full-league, staggered-starts, pre-Election Day promotion.

The late start did not affect Luka Doncic, who continued his historic start to the season, scoring 36 points with six rebounds and six assists. Doncic is now just the second player in NBA history to score at least 30 points in each of the first nine games to start the season.

Only the legendary Wilt Chamberlain had a longer streak when he scored 30 or more in each of the first 23 games to start the 1962-63 season.

It was a balanced night for Doncic as he carried Dallas past Brooklyn in another nailbiter. The last five matchups between the two teams have been decided by four points or fewer.

The 23-year-old superstar shot 11-of-22 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line.

The win gave the Mavericks their first season sweep of a single opponent and extended their winning streak to four games.

Brooklyn’s interim coach Jacque Vaughn, after the team fired Steve Nash amid a 2-5 start last Tuesday, noted before the game the importance of limiting Doncic. The 23-year-old scored 41 points when Dallas won at Brooklyn 129-125 in overtime on October 27.

The noted importance of slowing Doncic did not do much, as he accounted for 23 of 25 points by Dallas starters in the first half helping the Mavericks overcome a 14-point first-quarter deficit to take a 53-50 lead at halftime.

“We started out down two touchdowns,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “We had a lot of careless turnovers (22 total) but found a way to win.”

Dallas had nine turnovers in the third quarter alone and lost reserve guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 11 points off the bench, to a left hip strain.

Still, the Mavericks responded to the sloppy third quarter, which saw them take a one-point deficit into the start of the fourth.

Doncic eclipsed the 30-point mark on a step-back 3-pointer with 7:54 remaining in the fourth period to pull Dallas within one point, 78-77.

Doncic’s 3-pointer began a 14-0 Mavericks run, boosted by third-year reserve wing Josh Green, who continued his promising start to the season.

Green slammed his second high-flying dunk of the game with 7:04 remaining to give the Mavericks a 79-78 lead. He finished the next offensive possession with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to continue the run that put Dallas up 88-78 with less than five minutes remaining.

Green finished with 16 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting.

The Nets pushed until the end and went on a 9-0 run in the final minute, turning the game into a free-throw battle down the stretch.

The Nets pulled to within 92-91 on a 3-pointer from Cam Thomas with 25.3 seconds left. Doncic was then intentionally fouled and made two free throws with 13.8 seconds to restore a three-point Dallas lead.

Brooklyn’s superstar Kevin Durant was intentionally fouled on the dribble with 11 seconds to go and pulled Brooklyn to 94-93 with two free throws. Dorian Finney-Smith responded with two free throws with 9.8 seconds left to push Dallas’ lead to 96-93.

On the next Brooklyn possession, Finney-Smith swiped at Durant while he attempted a 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds, sending one of the league’s most gifted shooters to the foul line with a chance to tie the game with three foul shots.

Durant had made 62 consecutive free throw attempts dating back to last season and hit the first attempt. But his second attempt rimmed, much to the delight of the AAC fans.

He was forced to intentionally miss the third free throw in hopes of an offensive rebound and tying basket, but Dallas came away with the ensuing scramble for the ball.

Durant led the shorthanded Nets with 26 points, who are 2-2 since Vaughn took over for Nash. Brooklyn was without suspended All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, who gashed the Mavericks for 39 points in the October 27 matchup.

Irving came under fire for promoting an antisemitic documentary — and after initially failing to apologize or disavow the film in multiple press conferences afterward — the Nets suspended him for at least five games last Thursday.

The Mavericks will gladly take the win no matter the circumstances, as they went 4-1 over their five-game homestand. Dallas will hit the road for its next two games, at Orlando on Wednesday and Washington on Thursday.

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