Mavericks cement playoff place with win over Brooklyn
The Dallas Mavericks continued their push to avoid the play-in tournament in the West with victory against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night. This victory putting them one game clear in fifth place. The Nets have now lost four straight games and sit just 0.5 games above the Bucks in second place in the East.
The defenses stayed in the locker room to begin the game as the teams exchanged buckets early on. Kyrie Irving began the game with a couple of three's as he finished the quarter with 10 points, matched by the Mavs form player, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas led by as many as 10 in the opening quarter but the exploits of Irving kept the Nets in touch as the Mavs went into the second with a five point advantage.
Durant & Irving came out firing in the second and quickly erased the Mavericks lead before Luka Doncic answered with three straight treble's as the teams exchanged leads midway through the second quarter.
Kyrie somehow managed to better his opening quarter with an impressive 15 point second quarter but this was not enough to keep the Nets infront as Durant went cold. Doncic hit one of two from the free throw line at the end of the quarter to give the Mavs a one point half time advantage. HT: Nets 62-63 Mavs.
Nets re-affirmed control out of the break as Dallas went cold. The home team did not make a field goal for the opening 4:39 of the third quarter as the Nets began to shut down Luka's offense.
Doncic added his only point of the quarter from the free throw line to give Dallas a single point advantage before Jeff Green & Mike James hit late on to give Brooklyn the lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Nets stretched their lead to four early in the fourth but the Dallas bench stayed resilient, Dwight Powell & Jalen Brunson once again showing how crucial they are to the Mavs with some big buckets as Doncic continued to struggle.
Durant had a tough night going just 7 of 21 from the field but Kyrie Irving ultimately notched up a new season high and kept answering whenever the Mavs threatened to pull clear. With 3:11 to go in the fourth quarter, Luka finally hit his first field goal of the second half, to give Dallas a seven point lead.
Doncic followed this up with a smooth stepback jumper following a traditional three point play from Kyrie to keep the Nets at arms length. A pair of free throws from Tim Hardaway Jr put Dallas up by eight with 14 seconds remaining but still Brooklyn refused to give in.
Irving dropped his seventh three of the night before Jeff Green added a pair of free throws to close the gap to three with 5.8 seconds remaining. Brooklyn never had a shot to level the game however as Hardaway Jr sealed the win from the free throw line.
The back and forth battle we hoped for with a lights out performance from Kyrie Irving, who finished with 45 pts 5 rebs & 4 assists. While Dallas were led by Luka Doncic (24/10/8) & Tim Hardaway Jr (23/6/2). Final Score in Dallas: Nets 109-113 Mavs.