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

LOS ANGELES — For many of the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers prioritized forcing the ball out of Luka Doncic’s fingers, sending a gradual food regimen 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 massive as 19 factors within 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 was a little bit surprised,” Doncic mentioned of not being double-teamed with the sport on the road. “I don’t know why they didn’t. I thought they were going to foul, honestly, but I tried to get it up before they could foul.”

The Mavs finally pulled out a 119-115 win in double-overtime within the Thursday night time thriller at Crypto.com Area. 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 within the final minute of the primary time beyond regulation interval.

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

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

Doncic’s clutch historical past is among the many causes that the Lakers’ resolution 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 within 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 need to coach a little better in that instance. We should’ve blitzed him — or at least forced him inside the 3-point line. Those situations, it’s kind of chaotic. A bunch of chatter. Everything’s going on. We’re trying to figure out the matchups. … So I’ll take the bullet for that. That’s on me. We have to be better defensively in those moments and force someone else to beat us.”

Doncic delivered one more signature efficiency to guide Dallas to a victory that bumped the Mavs (24-19) again into fourth place within the Western Convention 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 game, we have a great chance,” mentioned Mavs capturing guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 22 factors.

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

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

However he mustered the vitality to make the 2 largest pictures of the night time. It is the second time in Doncic’s profession that he has made two stepback 3s that tied the rating or took the lead within the ultimate minute of the fourth quarter or time beyond regulation in the identical recreation. In accordance with Second Spectrum, solely two different gamers (James Harden and Victor Oladipo) have achieved that over the previous 10 years.

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

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.