Luka Doncic scored 28 points with 10 assists and 10 rebounds on Wednesday as the Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 118-117 NBA victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Doncic notched his league-leading seventh triple-double of the season and the Mavericks rallied from a nine-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter as they continue to try to fight their way up from the depths of the Western Conference.
A Doncic three-pointer gave the Mavericks their first lead since the second quarter, 104-101, with 5:29 to play.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Jalen Brunson added 11 of his 21 in the final frame for Dallas.
The Hawks, led by 33 points from John Collins and with 25 points, seven rebounds and 15 assists from Trae Young, twice cut the deficit to one point in the final two minutes.
But on Atlanta’s last inbounds they couldn’t get the ball to Young and veteran Danilo Gallinari’s jump shot with nine-tenths of a second remaining came up short.
“I was really relieved,” admitted Doncic. “I was so happy when they missed a shot to get us back on a winning track. We’re just getting started,” Doncic added. “We keep improving every game.”
The contest opened with the first playing of the national anthem at a Mavs home game this season – the league instructing teams to maintain the tradition of the pre-game anthem a day after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he “decided not to play it and see what the response was.”
The anthem has become a touchy topic since becoming the focal point for protests of social and racial injustice.
The Los Angeles Clippers shook off a slow start to beat the Timberwolves 119-112 in Minnesota, avoiding their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points with eight rebounds and five assists and Lou Williams added a season-high 27 points off the bench for the Clippers who were without scoring threat Paul George.
The Clippers welcomed starting guard Patrick Beverley back to action after an eight-game injury absence.
A “super fired-up” Beverley scored six points in 18 minutes as he brought his trademark intensity to a game in which the Clippers trailed 32-27 after the first quarter and 53-47 at halftime.
But they were out-scored by 13 in the third quarter and never led in the fourth.
Naz Reid led Minnesota with 23 points off the bench. Malik Beasley scored 21 and Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 18 in his first contest back from a 13-game absence since announcing in January he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Nets power past Pacers
In New York, the Brooklyn Nets answered critics of their recent defensive efforts in a 104-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The Nets held the Pacers to 18 points in the first quarter and just 12 in the second to take a 62-30 lead into halftime.
They led by as many as 36 points – a lead Indiana whittled to 14 in the fourth quarter before the Nets clamped down again.
Kyrie Irving, playing with a sprained finger on his shooting hand, scored 33 points. James Harden connected on just four of 13 from the field for 19 points with 11 rebounds and five assists.
In Washington, Toronto’s Norman Powell scored 28 points, Pascal Siakam added 26 and Kyle Lowry had 21 to propel the Raptors to a 137-115 victory over the Wizards.
The Raptors drained 19 three-pointers in a dominant victory – seven Toronto players making at least one from beyond the arc.
Lowry made five of his nine attempts from three-point range while Siakam and Powell hit three apiece – as did Terence Davis.