NBA regular season

Luka Doncic’s 51 points lift surging Mavs past Spurs

Luka Doncic’s 51 points lift surging Mavs past Spurs

UNSTOPPABLE. Mavericks guard Luka Doncic reacts after scoring a triple against the Spurs.

Wachter/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Mavericks survive the Spurs in a thriller after another Luka Doncic scoring outburst

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, to win their season-best sixth straight game on Saturday, December 31 (Sunday, January 1, Manila time).

The Mavericks led by 10 points after three quarters but San Antonio fought back, getting to within 112-111 after a pair of free throws by Jakob Poeltl with 5:29 to play.

After Dallas rebuilt its lead to 6 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 a point, 122-121, with 1:34 remaining. Frank Ntilikina’s jumper extended the Mavericks’ lead to 3 points before Jeremy Sochan responded with two free throws with 20.2 seconds to play, 124-123.

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 seconds 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 9 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, which 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 10 lead changes, the last on Doncic’s three-pointer with 1:11 remaining to put the Mavericks ahead, 63-60. Dallas led 68-64 at the break despite being outshot 62.8% to 57.4% 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. –

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