DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks had lost an 11-point lead and all momentum, having gone nearly three minutes without scoring, before Luka Doncic made one of the most spectacular displays of decisive shots in recent NBA memory.
Doncic twice drained hotly contested 3-pointers and set back to give the Mavs the lead in his last two possessions, the second from 27 feet he shook with a tenth of a second remaining Tuesday night to seal a 110-107 victory over him. team. Boston Celts.
“We made a few mistakes, but I loved the way we kept our balance, we hung on and made sure we got the ball in the right guy’s hands at the end,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
According to research from ESPN Stats & Information, only one other player has made a pair of 3s in the last 30 seconds of a game in the last 25 seasons. Doncic joined the exclusive company of official guard Dan Dickau, who accomplished the feat of the New Orleans Hornets in a January 22, 2005 victory over the LA Clippers.
Doncic’s heroic deeds to beat Boston inspired Carlisle to pronounce the 21-year-old All-Star’s name in the same sentence as some NBA legends.
“Wiring people like Luka Doncic, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, guys who have this laser-like approach in these situations, it’s hard to explain how their mind and brain work,” Carlisle said. “He’s a very rare breed of player. Not only does he have a laser-like approach, he has the desire and all the tools to fulfill.
Doncic, who finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, had to reach into his toolbox to make the shot that put the Mavs with 15.8 seconds to go. After finding no space when he tried to drive, Doncic handed the ball to Jalen Brunson and recovered it a few steps beyond the 3-point line with 11 seconds remaining on the shot clock. He received a screen from forward Dorian Finney-Smith that prompted the Celtics to switch defenses, allowing Doncic to isolate himself against center Daniel Theis on the right wing. Doncic changed direction three times, dribbling between his legs before stepping back with Theis’s hand to his face.
“It felt good out of my hands,” Doncic said. “He was a little tired of running for all possession, but he came in, and that’s all that matters.”
Brown, who led the Celtics with 29 points, responded with his second lead shot of the last minute, driving for a layup with 9.5 seconds left. Dallas didn’t have a timeout and didn’t need one, knowing the plan was to just give Doncic the ball and let him create. Doncic maneuvered to the left wing and took a step back over two Celtics defenders, reminiscent of the buzzer he did to beat the Clippers in Game 4 of last season’s first-round playoff series, the signature moment. of the superstar career. far.
“The last one was ridiculous,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who guessed he wouldn’t send a second defender to Doncic when he was isolated on Theis the previous possession. “Kemba [Walker] I was right there Aaron [Nesmith] it was right there. I’m not going to be too harsh on our guys for those last two shots Luka Doncic just took. “
According to ESPN Stats & Information investigation, Doncic entered the night 2 of 7 with a possible 3-point lead in the last 30 seconds of regulation or overtime, including his playoff dagger against the Clippers. He was 2-for-2 on Tuesday, allowing the 15-15 Mavs to hit .500 for the first time in a month.
“Sometimes you’re going to miss it, like the last game against Portland,” Doncic said, referring to his wide 3-pointer that ended in Dallas’ final possession of a 121-118 loss on Valentine’s Day to the Trail Blazers. . “And sometimes you’re going to make it.”
The Mavs, whose season seemed on the verge of unraveling when they had a six-game losing streak that spanned into early February, have won six of their last seven games. Doncic has led the NBA in scoring during that stretch with 34.0 points per game, shooting 51.9% from the floor and 48.3% from 3-point range, while also averaging 8.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists.
“It’s bringing us together,” said Brunson, who scored 22 points off the bench. “We are on the right track at the moment. We have to keep it up.”