Doncic scores 29 points as Mavericks top Thunder 119-110 to tie series at 1-1

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, right, shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey during the first half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Thursday May 9, 2024, in Oklahoma City.
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, right, shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey during the first half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Thursday May 9, 2024, in Oklahoma City. AP Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY — Luka Doncic limped around the court, often grimacing as he played through a sprained right knee and a bloodied left knee.

His shooting stroke was unaffected. He had 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-110 on Thursday night and even the Western Conference semifinals at one win apiece.

“I think that was one of the hardest games I’ve had to play,” Doncic said. “I’m battling out there trying to do my best to help the team win.”

The Thunder held Doncic to 19 points on 6-for-19 shooting in Game 1. He made 11 of 21 field goals in Game 2. Throughout, he had frequent conversations with the officials — enough to draw the ire of Thunder fans, who booed him and directed chants his way.

“That’s great for me," he said. “I love it.”

P.J. Washington added 29 points and 11 rebounds and made 7 of 11 3-pointers for the Mavericks. He averaged 12.9 points in the regular season.

“I thought P.J. set the tone," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. "We played through him a little bit in the post and I think that sparked him. He was big for us tonight.”

Kyrie Irving added nine points and 11 assists for the No. 5-seeded Mavericks, who host Game 3 on Saturday after taking home-court advantage from the top-seeded Thunder.

Doncic expects the Thunder to be prepared.

“They have great players," Doncic said. "They have great chemistry, great team. And it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a fight till the end. So, just much respect to Oklahoma (City), but it’s big time we won this game.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and Jalen Williams added 20 points for the Thunder, who lost for the first time in the postseason and allowed more than 100 points for the first time in their six playoff games.

The Mavericks played with desperation, just like they did in the first round when they beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 and took home court from them.

“I feel like it was a must-win game for us,” Washington said. “And those games, I feel like are where we play our best.”

Doncic made his first three shots and scored eight points in the first three minutes to help Dallas take a 13-2 lead. He scored 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting in the first quarter, but the Thunder had the play of the quarter. Oklahoma City inbounded from under the Dallas goal with 1.4 seconds left. Jaylin Williams threw it long for Chet Holmgren, who caught the ball while defended by two Mavericks in traffic, turned around and hit a long 2-point jumper to cut Dallas' lead to 36-32.

Dallas led 68-62 at halftime. Both teams made 25 of 47 shots before the break, but Dallas made 12 3s to Oklahoma City's six.

Oklahoma City tied it at 70 on a baseline jumper by Gilgeous-Alexander two minutes into the second half. Aaron Wiggins, who started the second half in place of Josh Giddey, scored from in close to give the Thunder a 72-71 lead, their first advantage of the game.

Dallas rallied, largely with Doncic resting. After he returned, his lob for a dunk by Derrick Jones Jr. put the Mavericks up 99-85 late in the third quarter, and they took a 99-89 lead into the fourth.

A powerful two-handed putback dunk by Williams cut Dallas' lead to 99-95, but the Mavericks responded. Doncic took advantage of a screen by Dereck Lively II and hit a 3-pointer to put Dallas up 104-95 with nine minutes remaining. The Thunder never got closer than five points the rest of the way.

“We’ve got a really good opponent that played really well tonight," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. "We tried to scrap back into it. I thought our effort was really good tonight. I thought we tried to gear it up a couple different times. I thought where we left something to be desired was execution.” (AP)

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