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

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are back at it.

The Mavericks, coming off a losing streak, rallied past the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-110 on Thursday night at the Bagham Center. The win ties the series at 1-1 heading into Saturday night’s Game 3 in Dallas. It was Oklahoma City’s first loss in the playoffs this year.

Doncic nearly had a triple-double and PJ Washington led the Mavericks to a playoff-high 29 points, including seven 3-pointers. Their 119 points were the most points allowed by the Thunder this postseason after sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans in the opening round of the first seed in the Western Conference.

Doncic and the Mavericks came out hot in the first quarter, and he immediately landed on triple-double watch. Doncic immediately stepped up in the opening period, scoring 16 points and hitting four of the Mavericks’ eight 3-pointers. He scored 24 of Dallas’ 36 points in the first quarter.

The Mavericks lead was cut to four points at the end of the first quarter when Thunder center Sed Holmgren pulled down a ridiculous buzzer-beater off a full-court inbounds pass.

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

Aaron Wiggins provided a big spark for the Thunder to start the second half. After starting the third quarter in place of Josh Gidde, Wiggins led the Thunder to a 13-4 run.

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It was as big a lead as the Thunder pulled. The Mavericks used an 18-4 run that included 10 straight points from Tim Hardaway Jr. with Doncic off the bench to regain a double-digit lead.

While the Thunder kept it close throughout the fourth quarter, the Mavericks kept them at arm’s length in other ways. Doncic seemed to have an answer for everything, and the Thunder 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-for-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, hadn’t allowed more than 95 points in a game in the postseason until Thursday night.

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

Knights have health problems. Dancic was sidelined Thursday with a foot injury and ankle sprain, while Daniel Gafford played through a wrist injury. Nevertheless, they got a much-needed road win early in the series. If they’re going to reach their second Western Conference final in three years, that’s crucial before returning to Dallas.

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