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NBA playoffs: Luka Dončić, Mavericks fend off Thunder in Game 2 to tie series

Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks are back.

The Mavericks, after a blowout loss to start the series, beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-110 Thursday night at the Paycom Center. The win evened the series 1-1 as it heads to Dallas for Game 3 on Saturday night. It was also Oklahoma City’s first playoff loss this year.

Dončić nearly had a triple-double and PJ Washington erupted with a playoff career-high 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, to push the Mavericks to victory. Their 119 points were the most the Thunder allowed in the playoffs after the Western Conference top seed cruised past the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round.

Dončić and the Mavericks came out on top in the first quarter, and he posted a triple-double almost immediately. Dončić scored 16 points and made four of the Mavericks’ eight 3-pointers in the first half to put them in an instant lead. He scored 24 of Dallas’ 36 points in the first quarter.

The Mavericks’ lead was cut to four points late in the first quarter after Thunder center Chet Holmgren made a ridiculous buzzer-beater on a full-court inside pass.

While the Mavericks nearly pulled away before halftime and took a 15-point lead, Oklahoma City went on a 15-4 run to bring the score back to just one possession. Despite allowing 68 points in the first half, the Thunder entered the locker room with only five points at the break.

Aaron Wiggins provided a huge spark for the Thunder to start the second half. After starting the third quarter in place of Josh Giddey, Wiggins led the Thunder on a 13-4 burst and he gave them their first lead of the game on a clutch floater in the lane.

However, that was as big a lead as the Thunder had. The Mavericks, with Dončić on the bench, used an 18-4 run that included 10 straight points from Tim Hardaway Jr. to take a double-digit lead again.

Even though the Thunder stayed close throughout the fourth quarter, the Mavericks kept them at arm’s length for the rest of the game. Dončić seemed to have an answer for everything, and the Thunder had a rough run where they made just 1 of 11 field goal attempts, allowing the Mavericks to pull away.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the loss. He shot 13 of 24 from the field. Jalen Williams had 20 points and Holmgren finished with 11 points and six rebounds. The Thunder, who swept the Pelicans in the first round, had not allowed more than 95 points in a playoff game until Thursday night.

Doncić led Dallas with 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Washington had 11 rebounds and four assists to go along with her 29 points while shooting 7 of 11 from behind the arc. Hardaway added 17 points coming off the bench after shooting 6 of 9 from the field. Kyrie Irving had 11 assists and nine points, but he shot just 2 of 8 from the field.

The Mavericks have health issues. Dončić is dealing with a leg injury and briefly twisted his ankle on Thursday, while Daniel Gafford played with a wrist injury. Still, they picked up a well-deserved road win early in the series. If they want to reach a second Western Conference final in three years, this was key before returning to Dallas.

News Source : sports.yahoo.com
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