NBA: Luka Doncic scores 41, Mavericks prevent Rockets from advancing
DALLAS — Luka Doncic had 41 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and the Dallas Mavericks prevented the Houston Rockets from advancing to the quarterfinals of the NBA In-Season Tournament with a 121-115 victory on Tuesday night.
Kyrie Irving added 22 of his 27 points in the second half for the Mavericks, who had already been eliminated. Their victory allowed the New Orleans Pelicans to win Group B in the Western Conference with a 3-1 record.
The Mavericks, who trailed by nine points in the third quarter, grabbed the lead for good at 99-98 with 6:25 to play on a drive by Irving. Leading 103-100 with 5:25 left, they went on an 8-2 run that included three free throws by Derrick Jones Jr. when he was fouled by Dillon Brooks on a 25-footer with the shot clock about to expire.
Luka dropped 41 PTS, 9 REB, and 9 AST as the Mavs ended West Group B play with a W 🏆 pic.twitter.com/P8wgKVYTwD
— NBA (@NBA) November 29, 2023
Jabari Smith Jr.’s 3-pointer with 8 seconds left pulled the Rockets within 119-115 before Dallas closed it out.
Alperen Sengun had a season-best 31 points for the Rockets, who had six scorers in double figures. Fred VanVleet had 10 points and 12 assists.
The Rockets have lost all six of their road games this season.
Doncic fell just short of his 59th career triple-double. That would have tied him for ninth place all-time with Larry Bird. He shot 15 of 29, 3 of 10 on 3-pointers.
Doncic played after sustaining a low-grade sprain of his left thumb on his non-shooting hand early in Saturday’s game. He wore a wrap on the thumb.
The Rockets used an 11-2 burst opening the second half to build the nine-point lead during the period and take an 88-84 lead into the fourth quarter. Houston hit 5 of 13 3-pointers in the quarter, two by Aaron Holiday, after going 2 of 10 during the first half.
Dallas led by as many as 12 points during the first half and 54-50 at halftime with Doncic scoring 18 points. The Mavericks were 9 of 23 behind the arc during the half.
The Mavericks didn’t use the specially built court for either of their home tournament games, citing dissatisfaction with the quality.
Rockets: Will finish a back-to-back at Denver on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Host Memphis on Friday.