Luka Doncic Drops 24 as Mavs Hand Kevin Durant, Nets 4th Straight Loss

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 7, 2021

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving (11) defends as Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) advances the ball upcourt in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

The Dallas Mavericks are getting hot.

At home on Thursday, the Mavericks earned their fifth victory in six games with a 113-109 defeat of the Brooklyn Nets, who have lost four in a row. 

Luka Doncic scored 24 points for the Mavericks, who temporarily moved into fifth place in the Western Conference by improving to 38-28. The Lakers, who entered Thursday tied with Dallas, have a 10 p.m. ET tipoff against the Clippers.

For the slipping Nets (43-24, second in the Eastern Conference), Kyrie Irving dropped a season-high 45 points.

Notable Performers

  • Kyrie Irving, Nets: 45 PTS
  • Kevin Durant, Nets: 20 PTS 
  • Luka Doncic, Mavericks: 24 PTS, 10 REB, 8 AST
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., Mavericks: 23 PTS, 6 REB

Irving, Blake Griffin's Big Nights Spoiled

The Nets fell behind early, going down by as much as 10 points to the Mavericks in the opening frame. They closed the deficit to five by the quarter's end, led by 10 points from Kyrie Irving. 

But there was hope still for Brooklyn, which continued to welcome back Nicolas Claxton. The big had been an important depth piece off of the bench for the squad, but his progress in his second year was hindered as he spent seven games in the health and safety protocols. He returned against Milwaukee on Tuesday but played just five minutes, a total he surpassed by the second frame on Thursday.

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

ACTION CLAXTON 😤 pic.twitter.com/lvVbr6bKXz

They opened the second quarter on an 8-5 run, but Dallas answered to turn things into a back-and-forth.

Irving and Durant continued to lead the charge, ending the half having combined for 41 points. 

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

No finisher in the league like @KyrieIrving 😮 pic.twitter.com/2b6bek5FH4

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

sweet dish from KD 🍽@KDTrey5 | #BrooklynTogether pic.twitter.com/gPJnvdpT1S

The charge resulted in a 63-62 Dallas advantage at the midway point. It also resulted in some history for Irving, who scored 25 points by the break to lead all scorers, breaking the team's season-high for most points in a first half

The energy picked up in the third, with the team opening on a 6-0 run and taking a lead midway through the quarter. 

Along the way, Blake Griffin nabbed his second double-double of the season and first as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Blake Griffin got UP 😲 pic.twitter.com/5Nx6FH273n

The Mavericks went on a run of their own in the middle part of the quarter to keep the Nets from getting too far ahead. But their little bursts of energy weren't enough to keep the Mavericks at bay, even as Irving, Durant and Griffin (10 points, 10 rebounds) had standout performances. 

Doncic, Dallas Hang On Amid Back-and-Forth

Dallas took a five-point lead into the second quarter. The Mavs took advantage despite getting outshot from three because they capitalized on four attempts from the line. Tim Hardaway Jr. logged 10 points in 12 minutes, while Luka Doncic and Josh Richardson tallied eight and seven points, respectively. 

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Easy Money. pic.twitter.com/IoxeNtBCca

The early lead was a strong omen for Dallas. 

Eddie Sefko @ESefko

Mavericks up 37-32 after a quarter. As a reminder, they are 24-0 in games they have led after a quarter. They are 0-3 when tied after one and 13-25 when trailing after one.

But by the break, they struggled to keep a big lead over a surging Nets offense, even as Doncic posted 11 points in the second quarter.

The Mavs looked like a completely different team at the start of the third. Things looked like they would take a turn for the worst when Hardaway—who was the team's second-leading scorer behind Doncic—went down and grabbed at his leg, but he stayed in the game. 

Still, it took the team nearly five minutes to log a point after the break while Brooklyn did the opposite, opening on a 6-0 run. But after a timeout, they came back in front. But the slow stretch—highlighted by a scoreless drought for Doncic that lasted until there was 1:53 left—was a sign of a negative trend for the Mavericks.

Bobby Karalla @bobbykaralla

The Mavs were 1 for 10 to start the second quarter and they're 1 for 11 to start the third. Still just 70-66 Brooklyn so everything is good-ish, but that's still two loooooong stretches on offense where the game got a little weird.

As they did following the slow start to the second quarter, they picked things up and challenged Brooklyn's lead, but a pair of turnovers had them down by one heading into the final 12 minutes. 

A late 12-5 run for the Mavericks all but sealed the deal before Dallas held the Nets off despite a late charge thanks to three shots from the line and a field goal from Irving.

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

BIG DOE 3️⃣ pic.twitter.com/KTgkF6dBMg

What's Next? 

Dallas will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET. 

The Nets' five-game road trip continues in Denver on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.