Mavericks’ Dončić drops season-high 41 on Raptors to deny 4th-quarter comeback

Luka Dončić scored a season-high 41 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 1:01 to play, and tied his season best with 14 rebounds as the surging Dallas Mavericks held off the Toronto Raptors 102-98 on Wednesday night.

Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and seven rebounds to help Dallas win its fourth straight and 10th in 11 games. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 off the bench for the Mavericks, who host NBA-best Phoenix on Thursday.

The Mavericks began this stretch ninth in the Western Conference. They’re now fifth, three games behind fourth-place Utah.

Dončić, who had the 10th 40-point regular-season game of his four-year career, was pleased with how the Mavericks shared the ball but gave most of the credit for the recent streak to his team’s effort at the other end of the floor.

“We’re playing team defence; that’s where we’re winning,” he said.

Dallas out-shot Toronto 48.7 per cent to 38.5 per cent after going into play ranked third in the NBA with 102.7 points allowed per game.

WATCH | Dončić delivers season-high 41 points:

Doncic leads Mavericks past Raptors for 4th straight victory

4 hours ago

Duration 0:47

Dallas beats Toronto 102-98 for their 10th win in 11 games, Luka Doncic scores season-high 41 points. 0:47

Pascal Siakam scored 20 points, OG Anunoby had 19 and Fred VanVleet added 18 points and 12 assists for the Raptors, who have lost four of five following a six-game winning streak that marked their longest of the season.

Toronto had six double-figure scorers while using only seven players, with starters Gary Trent Jr. and Kham Birch sidelined by injuries.

VanVleet’s 3-pointer gave Toronto a 96-95 lead with 1:55 to go, but Dončić put Dallas back ahead with a layup 10 seconds later. After the Mavericks regained possession, Dončić hit a 27-footer behind the arc to beat the shot clock and give the Mavericks a 100-96 lead.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Dončić said.

The Raptors were shooting for the lead seconds later at 100-98. Chris Boucher’s 26-footer bounced off the rim, Dorian Finney-Smith grabbed a defensive rebound and Porzingis added two clinching free throws with 5.6 seconds left.

VanVleet, leading Toronto in scoring at 21.9 points per game coming in, was 4 for 20 from the floor and 3 for 15 from long distance.

“If I make a couple more shots, we probably sneak out with a win,” he said.

Dončić was 13 for 24 from the floor, including 4 of 10 on 3-pointers after going 4 for 17 and missing all six attempts behind the arc in Dallas’ 104-102 win over Oklahoma City on Monday.

“He did a great job from start to finish,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said.

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