Luka Doncic poured in 51 points, including two free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining, and the visiting Dallas Mavericks outlasted the San Antonio Spurs 126-125 on Saturday to win their season-best sixth straight game.
The Mavericks led by 10 points after three quarters but San Antonio fought back, getting to within 112-111 after a pair of free throws by Jakob Poeltl with 5:29 to play. After Dallas rebuilt its lead to six points, the Spurs rallied again, getting a floater by Poeltl to cut their deficit to 121-119 with 2:09 left.
Another pair from the charity stripe by Poeltl closed the gap to one point with 1:34 remaining. Frank Ntilikina’s jumper extended the Mavericks’ lead to three points before Jeremy Sochan responded with two free throws with 20.2 seconds to play. Sochan then missed on a driving shot with 5.7 seconds left before Doncic’s game-sealing free throws.
San Antonio’s Tre Jones had a chance to tie the game but made just one of two free throws with 2.7 seconds to play. Christian Wood added 25 points for Dallas, with Tim Hardaway Jr. hitting for 14. Keldon Johnson led the Spurs with 30 points, while Sochan added 20. Poeltl racked up 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Heat 126, Jazz 123
Tyler Herro hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off of one foot to lift Miami over Utah in a thriller in Salt Lake City.
Herro drove the length of the court and heaved up the off-balance game-winner after Utah’s Lauri Markkanen tied the game with three free throws with 6.1 seconds remaining. Bam Adebayo led all scorers with 32 points, adding eight rebounds, and Herro finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists to help the Heat finish the calendar year in style.
Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson each hit three free throws in the final 14 seconds to tie the game late. But Miami closed it out despite not having a timeout to set up a final play. Markkanen led the Jazz with 29 points and 14 rebounds, and Clarkson netted 22 points in Utah’s fourth consecutive loss.
Pacers 131, Clippers 130
Myles Turner scored 34 points, Tyrese Haliburton added 24 points and distributed 10 assists and Indiana weathered a season-best 45-point performance from Paul George to down visiting Los Angeles.
Kawhi Leonard complemented George’s season high in scoring, adding 24 points with seven assists.
Indiana took a critical 126-125 lead inside the final minute when Haliburton converted a successful and-one. The Pacers led the remaining 57.4 seconds to preserve the win, their third straight and fifth in the last six games, thanks to 6-for-7 combined free-throwing shooting from Turner and Haliburton.
Cavaliers 103, Bulls 102
Caris LeVert scored 23 points and made a big defensive play to prevent DeMar DeRozan from hitting the game-winning shot as visiting Cleveland survived a rocky finish and held on for a victory over Chicago.
LeVert scored Cleveland’s last basket when his floater in the lane made it 103-96 with 2:03 remaining. DeRozan made a strong move to the hoop to make it 103-102 with 29.8 seconds left. The Cavaliers were called for a shot clock violation with 5.8 seconds remaining. DeRozan made a move to the baseline, but had to try a 15-footer over LeVert at the horn. The shot fell short.
Kevin Love added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers, who survived a rough night from star Donovan Mitchell. DeRozan scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for the Bulls. Ayo Dosunmu added 19 points and Zach LaVine 15.
Knicks 108, Rockets 88
Julius Randle scored 35 points, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes combined for 46 and New York snapped a five-game skid by beating host Houston.
Randle added 12 rebounds and six assists for the Knicks, who were without starters Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett. Randle shot 9 of 20 overall and made five 3-pointers to pace what was a three-pronged offensive attack. Quickley finished with 27 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
The Rockets, who have dropped eight of nine, shot 37.7 percent for the game and committed 25 turnovers that the Knicks flipped into 37 points. Kevin Porter Jr. posted 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets, while Jalen Green added 16 points but missed 8 of 12 shots.
Nets 123, Hornets 106
Kyrie Irving poured in 28 points and Kevin Durant had 23 as Brooklyn won its 11th game in a row by routing host Charlotte.
Brooklyn broke out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and rode 60 percent shooting from the field for the game to cruise to the win. The Nets’ high-scoring duo had plenty of help as Nic Claxton and Royce O’Neale both racked up 14 points, Yuta Watanabe had 11 and T.J. Warren added 10.
LaMelo Ball’s 23 points and 11 assists and Mason Plumlee’s 22 points and 10 rebounds led the Hornets. They also received 16 points from Terry Rozier, 12 from P.J. Washington and 10 from Jalen McDaniels. Brooklyn outscored the Hornets 13-5 across the last 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to build a 97-79 advantage that it would never relinquish in the final frame.
Pistons 116, Timberwolves 104
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points to lead seven players in double figures as Detroit rallied from an 18-point first-quarter deficit to beat Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Marvin Bagley III had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Saddiq Bey and Alec Burks scored 13 points apiece, and Hamidou Diallo added 12 for Detroit, which trailed by 14 at the half before Bogdanovic scored 17 points in the third quarter to help tie the game at 88-88.
Anthony Edwards scored 30 points to lead Minnesota, while D’Angelo Russell added 25 and Kyle Anderson had 12. The Wolves shot 10 of 34 (29.4 percent) from 3-point range and lost their season-high sixth straight game.
76ers 115, Thunder 96
Joel Embiid had 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his first triple-double of the season and fifth of his career as Philadelphia beat host Oklahoma City.
Embiid added four blocks and a steal. Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Philadelphia snapped a two-game losing streak but has won nine of its last 11. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Philadelphia was without James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and P.J. Tucker.
Josh Giddey led the Thunder with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was just 4 of 15 from the field, finishing with a season-low 14 points. Luguentz Dort added 13 points, five rebounds and three steals. The Thunder have lost back-to-back games and three of their last four.
Grizzlies 116, Pelicans 101
Ja Morant scored 32 points, and Steven Adams had 21 rebounds and 10 points as host Memphis ended New Orleans’ five-game winning streak.
Desmond Bane added 18 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 17 for Memphis.
Zion Williamson scored 20 points and Trey Murphy III added 15 for the Pelicans. CJ McCollum scored 10 on just 4-of-16 shooting, including 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, one night after setting a franchise record by making 11 treys.
–Field Level Media