Luka Doncic finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead the host Dallas Mavericks to a 113-109 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
Doncic shot only 7-for-22 from the field, but he went 5-for-13 from 3-point range, helping Dallas (38-28) secure another crucial win in its bid to secure one of the top six playoff spots in the Western Conference and avoid having to participate in the play-in tournament.
The Mavericks won their second in a row and fifth in their past six games. Dallas maintained at least a share of fifth place with the Los Angeles Lakers, who were playing late Thursday night, and moved a full game ahead of seventh-place Portland.
Brooklyn (43-24) lost its fourth in a row despite Kyrie Irving’s season-high 45 points. The Nets remained in second place in the Eastern Conference, but fell to 2 1/2 games behind first-place Philadelphia and are now only half a game ahead of third-place Milwaukee.
Kevin Durant tallied 20 points and nine rebounds while Blake Griffin recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Green added 11 points and Bruce Brown had 10.
The Nets were without James Harden (right hamstring strain) for the 16th consecutive game, although he said before the game that he is “very confident” he will return before the playoffs begin.
Doncic didn’t make his first 2-point shot until a drive to the hoop with 3:11 left in the fourth gave Dallas a 106-99 lead. Doncic and Jalen Brunson, who finished with 15 points, each hit shots in the final minute to help the Mavericks hang on for the win. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 23 points and six rebounds and made one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left after the Nets pulled to within three.
Dorian Finney-Smith totaled 17 points and eight rebounds. Dwight Powell tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds off the Mavericks’ bench and Josh Richardson added 10 points.
Dallas won despite missing Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) for the fourth consecutive game and Maxi Kleber (right Achilles soreness) for the second game in a row.
–Field Level Media