NBA regular season

Luka Doncic scores 36 as Mavericks hold off Celtics

Luka Doncic scores 36 as Mavericks hold off Celtics

36 POINTS. Luka Doncic drops 36 points including 7 three-pointers to lead the Dallas Mavericks.

Photo by David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Luka Doncic waxes hot to lead the Mavs to their 4th victory in 6 games.

Luka Doncic scored 36 points, Jalen Brunson added 21 and the Dallas Mavericks held off the host Boston Celtics for a 113-108 victory Wednesday, March 31 (Thursday, April 1, Manila time).

Doncic sunk seven 3-point attempts and shot 11-of-15 on the night as the Mavericks won for the fourth time in their past 6 games. Kristaps Porzingis had 19 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith scored 11 with 9 rebounds.

Jayson Tatum had 25 points, Jaylen Brown 24 and Kemba Walker 22 for the Celtics, who lost their second straight and have dropped 7-of-10. Marcus Smart added 17 points.

Boston trailed by 23 with 7:52 left in the 3rd quarter and entered the fourth down 90-73. A hot start to the final period had the Celtics within single digits, 96-87, on a Walker three-point play with 9:13 remaining. The deficit was trimmed to 7 on a Walker technical free throw with 6:52 to go.

Finney-Smith responded with a 3-pointer, but back-to-back buckets from Tatum made it a six-point game with 3:46 left.

Doncic and Brown traded threes, and Dallas led by eight with 36.8 seconds remaining. After a Walker three got Boston within 109-105, a Tatum steal and Smart tip-in on the other end made it a two-point game.

Down three with 5.4 seconds left, the Celtics couldn’t get possession on a missed free-throw attempt by Smart and came up short.

The Mavericks never trailed and led 30-25 after one. The Celtics cut their deficit to three, 35-32, before Dallas took control.

Finney-Smith and Nicolo Melli hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a nine-point advantage. Up by 10 with four minutes left in the half, Doncic, Josh Richardson and Brunson each hit from deep to extend the lead to 56-37.

Doncic then hit three consecutive field-goal attempts, two of them from 3-point range, to help Dallas enter the break up 64-45.

Doncic had 24 points at halftime on 5-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. His sixth 3-pointer gave the Mavericks a 72-51 lead in the third. –