Take a bow, Luka Doncic.
Just when it seems like there's nothing else the Dallas Mavericks superstar can do to impress, he dazzles with another memorable play. On Wednesday, it was a stumbling, off-balance three at the buzzer to give his team a dramatic 114-113 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.
Dallas was down two on its final possession only because Grayson Allen missed two free throws on the other end that could have iced it.
Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis led the way for the victors, while solid showings from Allen, Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas were not enough for the Grizzlies.
Notable Player Stats
- Luka Doncic, G, DAL: 29 PTS, 9 AST, 5 REB
- Kristaps Porzingis, C, DAL: 21 PTS, 6 REB
- Ja Morant, G, MEM: 17 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB
- Grayson Allen, G, MEM: 23 PTS, 4 REB, 2 STL, 6-of-11 3PT
- Jonas Valanciunas, C, MEM: 19 PTS, 15 REB
Doncic Stuns the Grizzlies
This was a chance for Doncic to make a statement, and did he ever.
Not only has he been one of the hottest players in the league with 25 or more points in 13 of his last 15 games, but he figures to be the best player on the floor in any potential play-in tournament matchup between the Grizzlies and Mavericks.
Memphis had other ideas in the early going, though, and held the two-time All-Star to four points in the first half. Doncic helped make up for his lack of scoring with seven dimes as he looked to facilitate with so much additional defensive attention directed his way, but the Mavericks were still trailing at intermission.
Porzingis kept Dallas within striking distance while Doncic was relatively quiet, and Dwight Powell and Tim Hardaway Jr. provided a spark off the bench.
Still, the only way the Mavericks were going to steal a win on the road was if Luka woke up as a scorer, and he did just that with 14 points in the third quarter.
He then mixed in a step-back off one foot and a key triple in the fourth, while backcourt mate Jalen Brunson dished out six assists in the quarter to keep the team close. One of those assists came on a Dorian Finney-Smith three to tie the game with fewer than four minutes remaining, which is all the help Doncic needed to take over in crunch time.
The two-time All-Star assisted a Porzingis basket, drove to the rim for a layup, hit a free throw and drilled the dagger to turn a five-point deficit into a stunning win in the final 62 seconds.
Grizzlies' Collapse Spoils Balanced Effort
Memphis' path to victory in Wednesday's contest needed to start on the offensive side.
After all, Morant was the only Grizzlies player to score more than 12 points in his team's February loss to the Mavericks. The team as a whole shot just 39.4 percent from the field and 19.4 percent from three, which is almost never going to cut it at the NBA level.
Allen got the memo.
The Duke product caught fire from deep in the early going and poured in 17 points in the first half. He was the only Memphis player in double figures by intermission, although Morant sliced through the defense multiple times while getting into the lane and Dillon Brooks aggressively sought out his shot.
The Grizzlies extended their lead in the third as Morant flew out in transition for a dunk, Valanciunas completed a double-double by battling in the paint and Desmond Bane provided outside shooting off the bench, including a triple on a Morant assist in the last five seconds of the quarter.
It looked to be more of the same in the fourth with Bane facilitating, Allen hitting another three and Valanciunas continuing to pound the offensive glass. He finished with eight offensive rebounds and both kept possessions alive and scored himself.
The game looked all but over when Morant found Valanciunas with a beautiful assist and Kyle Anderson hit a three to push the lead to five, but the Grizzlies didn't score a single field goal in the final two minutes and saw their otherwise stellar effort slip away when Allen missed those free throws.
Both teams play Friday when the Mavericks host the New York Knicks and the Grizzlies visit the Chicago Bulls.