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Luka Doncic’s 51 points help surging Mavs outlast Spurs

Dec 31, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks center Christian Wood (35) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic poured in 51 points, including two free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining, and the visiting Dallas Mavericks outlasted the San Antonio Spurs 126-125 on Saturday to win their season-best sixth straight game.

The Mavericks led 11 points after three quarters but San Antonio fought back, getting to within 112-111 after a pair of free throws by Jakob Poeltl with 5:21 to play.

After Dallas rebuilt its lead to six points, the Spurs rallied again, getting a floater by Poeltl to cut their deficit to 121-119 with 2:09 left.

Another pair from the charity stripe by Poeltl closed the gap to one point with 1:34 remaining. Frank Ntilikina’s jumper extended the Mavericks’ lead to three points before Jeremy Sochan responded with two free throws with 20.2 seconds to play.

Sochan then missed on a driving shot with 5.7 seconds left and Ntilikina grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, Doncic was fouled and made both free throws with 4.5 seconds left.

San Antonio’s Tre Jones had a chance to tie the game but made just one of two free throws with 2.7 to play, allowing the Mavericks to escape with the victory.

Christian Wood added 25 points for Dallas, with Tim Hardaway Jr. hitting for 14 and Spencer Dinwiddie scoring 11. Doncic added nine assists.

Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 30 points while Sochan added 20. Poeltl racked up 19 points and 15 rebounds, Jones tallied 18 points and Zach Collins scored 13.

Doncic set the pace early for another big performance, scoring 22 of the Mavericks’ points in the first quarter that ended with Dallas ahead 32-30. The Spurs stayed close thanks to 63.2 percent shooting from the floor and scoring from nine of the 10 players who saw the court in the period.

The second period had nine lead changes, the last on Doncic’ 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining to put the Mavericks ahead 63-60. Dallas led 68-64 at the break despite being outshot 62.8 percent to 57.4 percent and being outscored in the paint 34-26.

Doncic led all scorers with 30 points before halftime while Wood added 10 for the Mavericks. San Antonio countered with 17 points from Johnson.

–Field Level Media