Mavs’ Luka Doncic shines in clutch, outduels LeBron in 2OT win

LOS ANGELES — For a lot of the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers prioritized forcing the ball out of Luka Doncic’s fingers, sending a gradual weight-reduction plan of double-teams on the MVP candidate and daring his Dallas Mavericks teammates to beat him.

The technique labored, permitting the Lakers to rally from a deficit that had been as giant as 19 factors in the third quarter and take a three-point lead with seconds remaining. Doncic was scoreless for the primary 11 minutes, 54 seconds of the fourth quarter — till he swished an overtime-forcing stepback 3 over Dennis Schroder’s single protection.

“I used to be just a little bit stunned,” Doncic mentioned of not being double-teamed with the sport on the road. “I do not know why they did not. I believed they have been going to foul, actually, however I attempted to get it up earlier than they may foul.”

The Mavs ultimately pulled out a 119-115 win in double-overtime in the Thursday evening thriller at Crypto.com Arena. Doncic was spectacular all through the sport, ending his tenth triple-double of the season with 35 factors, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. He additionally delivered one other game-tying 3 in the final minute of the primary extra time interval.

“Big-time gamers make big-time photographs. It’s that easy,” mentioned Lakers star LeBron James, who had 24 factors, 16 rebounds and 9 assists however was 0-of-6 from the ground in the extra time intervals, together with a possible game-winning reverse layup on the first OT buzzer that was blocked by Mavs huge man Christian Wood.

Doncic, the league’s main scorer, has made 10 game-tying or go-ahead 3-pointers in the ultimate minute of the fourth quarter or extra time throughout his profession, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Information analysis. Portland’s Damian Lillard (14) is the one participant who has achieved extra since Doncic has been in the league.

Doncic’s clutch historical past is among the many causes that the Lakers’ determination to not ship an additional defender at him on the ultimate possession of regulation was so puzzling. The double-teams on Doncic had succeeded in disrupting Dallas’ rhythm. Doncic had 5 assists in the quarter, however the Mavs had scored solely 16 factors and dedicated six turnovers earlier than his game-tying bucket.

“He did what Luka does,” mentioned Lakers coach Darvin Ham. “I’m kicking myself in the butt. I want to teach just a little higher in that occasion. We ought to’ve blitzed him — or at the least compelled him contained in the 3-point line. Those conditions, it is sort of chaotic. A bunch of chatter. Everything’s occurring. We’re attempting to determine the matchups. … So I’ll take the bullet for that. That’s on me. We must be higher defensively in these moments and pressure another person to beat us.”

Doncic delivered yet one more signature efficiency to guide Dallas to a victory that bumped the Mavs (24-19) again into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. It was his ninth 30-point triple-double of the season, three greater than the remainder of the NBA mixed.

“If 77’s in the sport, we’ve an awesome likelihood,” mentioned Mavs taking pictures guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 22 factors.

Doncic performed a career-high 53 minutes, resting for a complete of solely eight seconds in the second half and extra time intervals.

“I gotta go to mattress,” Doncic muttered postgame.

But he mustered the power to make the 2 largest photographs of the evening. It’s the second time in Doncic’s profession that he has made two stepback 3s that tied the rating or took the lead in the ultimate minute of the fourth quarter or extra time in the identical sport. According to Second Spectrum, solely two different gamers (James Harden and Victor Oladipo) have achieved that over the previous 10 years.

“L was unimaginable,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd mentioned. “He was Luka.”

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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