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Mavericks Beat Thunder Behind Doncic’s 38

Sports

Luka Doncic tallied 38 points against the Thunder | Image by NBA

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-114 at American Airlines Center on Monday night.

Luka Doncic tallied 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting, with 11 rebounds and eight assists, after a one-game absence to rest a right quad contusion on the second night of a back-to-back.

Spencer Dinwiddie added 20 points, going 4-of-8 from three-point range, with seven rebounds and 10 assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. also scored 20 for the Mavericks.

Doncic eclipsed 20 points with about three minutes remaining in the first half to tie Mark Aguirre’s 1983-84 Mavericks record with 34 consecutive games of scoring at least 20 points.

He also became the first player to start a season with at least 25 consecutive games scoring at least 25 points since James Harden (35 games) in 2017-18.

The Mavericks got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first 12 points in the first 3:25, but the Thunder responded. Oklahoma City closed the first quarter on a 28-9 run to take a 28-23 lead entering the second.

Dallas’ shooting went cold in the first quarter, with the team making 6-of-26 shot attempts, including 3-of-15 from three.

The Mavericks only outscored the Thunder in one quarter, winning the second period 43-24, to take a 66-52 lead into halftime.

Hardaway made 4-of-5 from three for 12 points in the quarter, while Reggie Bullock hit all three of his three-point attempts, and Doncic poured in 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

The Mavericks (14-13) maintained control down the stretch even as the Thunder (11-16) cut a 15-point second-half deficit to 119-114 with 28 seconds to play. Bullock hit two free throws with 15.8 seconds left, and Maxi Kleber made a steal on Oklahoma City’s subsequent possession to seal the win.

“We got just enough stops,” Dinwiddie said following his first double-double as a Dallas Maverick.

For the Thunder, rising All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander matched his career high with 42 points in his team’s third straight loss to end a five-game road trip.

WHAT TO KNOW

The win for Dallas avenges one of their worst losses earlier in the season. The Mavericks squandered a 16-point lead in the last five minutes of regulation in an October 29 loss to the Thunder.

The win also ends a two-game losing skid for Dallas. Doncic sat out a season-worst 29-point loss on the road against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night with a strained right quadriceps.

The Mavericks game in Chicago was the second of a back-to-back, with Dallas having played the Milwaukee Bucks at home Friday night in a 9 p.m. start.

The Mavericks shot a season-worst 41.7% from the free throw line (10-of-24) in a 106-105 home loss to Milwaukee.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Mavericks connected on 22 three-pointers, two short of their season-high, on 51 attempts. They went into play averaging 40.6 three-point attempts per game, third-most in the NBA.

“Every time they made a run, we made a big three,” coach Jason Kidd said. “It’s good to see the ball start to go in.”

WHO SAID?

For the second time in the last six games, Doncic and Dinwiddie narrowly missed out on becoming the first pair of Mavericks teammates to record a triple-double in the same game.

The pair was a collective three rebounds and four assists shy of the milestone on December 3 against the New York Knicks. They fell two Doncic assists, and three Dinwiddie rebounds shy of the feat against the Thunder on Monday.

“We already know with Luka,” Hardaway Jr. said. “But with Spence, we’ve had a couple games now where he was right on the brink of that, so he’s showing that he’s an all-around player.”

Doncic was issued a technical foul about two minutes into the third quarter for hollering at teammate Dwight Powell for a defensive lapse.

It was Doncic’s first technical foul since November 15 and likely the first of his career for yelling at a teammate, not officials. After the game, Doncic said the Mavericks had sent the NBA “seven angles” on video replay to protest what he said was an unsportsmanlike call for “looking at” a ref.

“I’ll get that one back, for sure,” Doncic said.

Third-year wing Josh Green missed a second consecutive game with the right elbow sprain he suffered Friday against Milwaukee.

Frank Ntilikina took Green in the rotation against the Thunder, contributing six points, two assists, and one rebound in 18 minutes.

NEXT UP

The Mavericks will host the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-11) on Wednesday.

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