Dallas Cowboys

No buzzer beaters, but Luka Doncic’s late heroics help snap losing streak

Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic smiles as time expires during the the team’s NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Dallas, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. The Mavericks won 122-119. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic smiles as time expires during the the team’s NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Dallas, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. The Mavericks won 122-119. (AP Photo/LM Otero) AP

There were no buzzer-beating shots over the backboard.

But the heroics were just as big for Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic.

Doncic scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out 10 assists to lead the Mavericks to a 122-119 win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.

Doncic hit three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds and pulled down two huge defensive rebounds as the Mavs snapped a season-high six-game losing streak. He was driving to the basket with 30 seconds remaining when he was fouled.

Doncic was upset that continuation wasn’t granted on the play, in which his layup went in. Instead, he knocked down both shots to give the Mavs the lead for good.

Down at the other end, he secured the defensive rebound and was quickly fouled with 11 seconds left. He gave Dallas a three-point lead with his first free throw, but missed the second. The Pelicans’ last-ditch 3-point attempt from Anthony Davis was off and Doncic grabbed the rebound to preserve the win.

Doncic was one rebound shy of his first triple-double.

DeAndre Jordan was 7 of 7 from the field and finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Maxi Kleber had 10 points and a career-high six blocks. As a team, the Mavs had a season-high 13 blocked shots.

The Mavs had lost their previous six games, including the past three by a combined 11 points. Their last win was on Dec. 13 against the Atlanta Hawks. Five of the six consecutive losses were on the road, including the past four.

“It was huge, but it was fun out there,” said J.J. Barea, who had 18 points and seven assists in 28 minutes. “It was a big win for us. They’re a talented team, but we stayed with it. Tonight, it came down to the end, but we were at home.”

Point guard Dennis Smith Jr. did not play because of a wrist injury. Smith has missed 12 games this season.

Barea was 4 of 6 from the 3-point arc, including a big 3-point basket with 5:22 remaining that gave Dallas a 111-109 lead. But it remained a back and forth game until Doncic took control in the final 30 seconds.

“Every little thing that happened positive for us, had to happen for us to win that game,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “But when you lose six, this is the type of game you’ve got to have.”

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