NBA regular season

Shorthanded Cavaliers stun Luka Doncic-led Mavericks in huge endgame rally


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Shorthanded Cavaliers stun Luka Doncic-led Mavericks in huge endgame rally

LOCKDOWN. Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) looks to controls the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro (35) defends during the second quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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The Cleveland Cavaliers - without top stars Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, and Darius Garland - still dig out of a 20-point hole to escape the Dallas Mavericks

Jarrett Allen scored 24 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, Caris LeVert came off the bench to score 29 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from down 20 points to beat the host Dallas Mavericks 113-110 on Wednesday (Thursday, December 28, Manila time).

LeVert shot 6-for-11 from 3-point range to pace Cleveland to a 17-for-43 (39.5 percent) night from beyond the arc as a team. Georges Niang, who also came off the bench, shot 4-for-8 from deep en route to 16 points.

Niang connected on a corner 3-pointer with 6:51 remaining in regulation, the opening salvo of a 20-4 Cavaliers run. Cleveland flipped a 10-point deficit into a six-point advantage over the pivotal stretch that spanned more than five minutes.

Luka Doncic, who posted his third consecutive game of at least 39 points, scored the last of his game-high 39 with a step-back 3-pointer that cut Cleveland’s lead in half with 17.1 seconds remaining.

Niang missed a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession, giving Dallas one last opportunity. Max Strus blocked Seth Curry’s would-be game-tying attempt as time expired to preserve the Cavaliers’ win.

Isaac Okoro scored 22 points for Cleveland, shooting 4-for-7 from 3-point range and 7-for-13 from the floor overall. He helped fill the scoring void with Cleveland playing sans Donovan Mitchell (illness) and Darius Garland (jaw).

LeVert and Craig Porter Jr. each dished seven assists for the Cavaliers. Allen and Strus both passed for six assists.

Allen’s 23 rebounds marked a season high and were one off matching his career best. Allen produced the seventh 20-point, 20-rebound game in the NBA season, all by seven different players.

Doncic scored 20 points of his game-high total less than 10 minutes into the contest. He shot 8-for-13 from the floor in the first quarter, but went just 6-for-16 the rest of the way.

Doncic’s torrid start, coming on the heels of a 50-point performance on Christmas Day at Phoenix, gave Dallas a lead of as many as 20 points in the second quarter.

Curry shot 6-for-11 from the floor, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range, to finish with 19 points off the Mavericks’ bench. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 14 points, Dante Exum scored 13 points and dished six assists and Derrick Jones Jr. finished with 12 points. –

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