May 30, 2024

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NBA Playoffs: Luka Doncic, Mavericks hold off the Thunder in Game 2 to tie the series

NBA Playoffs: Luka Doncic, Mavericks hold off the Thunder in Game 2 to tie the series

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are back at it.

After a tough loss to start the series, the Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-110 on Thursday night at Paycom Center. The win evens the series at 1-1 as it heads to Dallas for Game 3 on Saturday night. This was also Oklahoma City’s first defeat in the playoffs this year.

Dončić nearly had a triple-double and PJ Washington exploded for a career-high in the playoffs with 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, to propel the Mavericks to victory. Their 119 points were the most the Thunder allowed in the postseason after the top seed in the Western Conference beat the New Orleans Pelicans in the opening round.

Dončić and the Mavericks came out strong in the first quarter, and went on to see a triple-double almost immediately. Dončić put up 16 points and hit four of the Mavericks’ eight 3-pointers in the opening period to immediately put them ahead. He had 24 of Dallas’ 36 points in the first quarter.

The Mavericks’ lead was cut to four points at the end of the first quarter after Thunder quarterback Chet Holmgren made a ridiculous buzzer-beater off a full-court pass.

While the Mavericks almost pulled away before halftime with a 15-point lead, Oklahoma City went on a 15-4 run to cut the score to one possession. Despite having 68 points in the first half, the Thunder entered the locker room down just five points at halftime.

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

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However, it was as much progress as the Thunder succeeded. The Mavericks, with Doncic on the bench, used an 18-4 run that included 10 straight points from Tim Hardaway Jr. to take a double-digit lead once again.

Although the Thunder kept it close throughout the fourth quarter, the Mavericks kept them at arm’s length the rest of the way. Dončić seemed to have an answer for everything, and the Thunder were going through a tough stretch as they made just one of 11 field goal attempts down the stretch, allowing the Mavericks to pull away.

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

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

The Mavericks have health issues. Doncic is dealing with a leg injury and briefly suffered an ankle injury on Thursday, while Daniel Gafford played with a wrist injury. However, they got a much-needed win early in the series. If they were going to reach the Western Conference Finals for the second time in three years, that was key before returning to Dallas.

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