Doncic, Mavericks win 125-124 thriller over surging Wizards
Luka Doncic ended his longest stretch without a triple-double since the Dallas sensation’s rookie year in a back-and-forth thriller against Washington’s Russell Westbrook, the NBA leader in that all-around category.
Another career best was the bigger highlight for Doncic, The Associated Press reported.
The 22-year-old’s career-high 20th assist fed Dorian Finney-Smith for the go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds as Doncic also finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds in a 125-124 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
The Mavericks couldn’t hold an 18-point, first-half lead, trailed by eight entering the fourth quarter and held on through four ties in the final four-plus minutes.
Dallas pulled even with the Los Angeles Lakers for the fifth seed in the Western Conference while improving to a season-high nine games over .500. The Mavericks hold the tiebreaker on the defending champions with nine games remaining.
Westbrook had 42 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Wizards, who lost for just the third time in 15 games in a surge that has put them in position to make the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference.
Bradley Beal scored 29 points while breaking three ties in the final two minutes, the last time on a pair of free throws for a 124-122 lead with 26 seconds remaining.
Doncic had gone 21 games without a triple-double, his longest stretch since needing 44 games to get his first as a rookie in 2018-19.
‘’I thought Luka’s poise down the stretch was spectacular,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘’He made every single right play and fittingly got the last rebound off the Beal miss.’’
Westbrook matched his season high for a half with 23 points before the break and kept going in the third, helping Washington outscore Dallas 32-19. He was 17 of 30 from the field while playing 40 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back.
‘’He willed this comeback,’’ coach Scott Brooks said. ‘’His intensity and determination, his will put us in position. I’m proud of our guys giving ourselves a chance. The way we started, they could have just said, `You know, let’s just wait until we get home.’’’
Doncic was again without European sidekick Kristaps Porzingis, out with right knee soreness after coming out of a game in Detroit two nights earlier.
Maxi Kleber topped his previous season high for a game in the first half, scoring all of his 17 points while also hitting a season-best five three-pointers before the break. The German’s previous game high was 16.
Rui Hachimura scored 18 points for Washington.