NBA regular season

Luka Doncic pours in 49 as Mavericks thwart Pelicans

Luka Doncic pours in 49 as Mavericks thwart Pelicans

SHOWTIME. Mavericks star Luka Doncic reacts to a play against the Pelicans.

Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Mavericks head into the All-Star break winning six of their last seven games

Luka Doncic recorded 49 points and 15 rebounds and the visiting Dallas Mavericks never trailed in a 125-118 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night, February 17 (Friday, February 18, Manila time).

Doncic fell 2 assists short of a triple-double and 2 points short of his season high.

Jalen Brunson added 23 points, Maxi Kleber scored 20 and Dorian Finney-Smith had 14 as the Mavericks won for the sixth time in their final seven games before the All-Star break.

CJ McCollum scored 38, Jaxson Hayes had 18, Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 18 rebounds, Devonte’ Graham and Brandon Ingram scored 12 each and Tony Snell had 11 for the Pelicans.

New Orleans finished 2-4 on its longest homestand of the season.

Down by 13 points at halftime, the Pelicans scored the first five points of the third quarter. They got within eight twice more before Doncic scored 10 points to help the Mavericks take an 89-73 lead.

New Orleans got within eight again, but Doncic scored the Mavericks’ final eight points in a 14-1 run that gave Dallas a 105-81 lead at the end of the quarter.

McCollum scored 12 points during a 27-8 run that pulled the Pelicans within 118-113 with 3:36 remaining.

Doncic scored on a drive and Finney-Smith had a steal and a layup to give Dallas a nine-point lead with 2:52 to go.

New Orleans pulled within four in the final minute but got no closer.

In the first quarter, Valanciunas scored 10 points to keep the Pelicans close before he went to the bench after committing his second foul with the Mavericks leading 24-16.

Dallas made its last four three-point attempts of the first quarter – two by Doncic and one each by Kleber and Finney-Smith.

The Mavericks led 45-27 at the end of the period after making 9-of-12 from three-point range. Doncic had 19 points, making 4 of 5 long-range attempts.

Dallas’ Davis Bertans sank a triple to start the second-quarter scoring and the Mavericks led by 21 twice more before the Pelicans made a push.

Hayes scored n9 points and McCollum hit two three-pointers as New Orleans got within 64-56.

The Mavericks made five free throws in the final 1:10 to take a 71-58 halftime lead. –