Mavericks down 96-94 as Kevin Durant misses free throw with chance to tie

Kevin Durant reacts to missing free throw with the game on the line 11/7/22

DALLAS (AP) – Luka Doncic scored 36 points, becoming just the second NBA player with nine straight games of at least 30 to start the season, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-94 on Monday night.

Dorian Finney-Smith scored 18 points and Josh Green had 16 for the Mavericks, who have won four straight.

Kevin Durant had 26 points for the Nets, who led by 14 points eight minutes into the game. Cam Thomas scored 19 points, Royce O’Neill had 15 and Joe Harris added 14.

Doncic joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to score 30 or more points in the first nine games of a season. Chamberlain did it in the first 23 games of 1962-63.

Doncic played 38 minutes and scored 30 points on a putback 3-pointer with 3 seconds left on the shot clock with 7:54 left in the fourth quarter to pull Dallas within 78-77.

That started a 14-0 Mavericks run – including a technical foul on Durant that followed his jaw into the Dallas bench – for an 88-78 lead with 5 minutes left.

The Nets made it 92-91 on Thomas’ 3 with 25.3 seconds left. Doncic made two free throws with 13.8 seconds to play for a 3-pointer. Durant was fouled off the dribble with 11 seconds left and made two free throws to pull Brooklyn within 94-93. Finney-Smith hit two free throws with 9.8 seconds left to push Dallas’ lead to 96-93.

Brooklyn went in with 6.7 seconds left and Durant was fouled Reggie Bullock while attempting a three-pointer. Durant hit the first, but finished the second. He intentionally missed the third free throw and Dallas took off with the ensuing scramble for the ball.

Brooklyn fell to 2-2 under the incumbent Jacques Vaughan after firing it Steve Nash last Tuesday, and 2-1 after the stoppage Kyrie Irving last Thursday.

TIPS

Nets: Ben Simmons came off the bench after missing the previous four games with left knee soreness. Simmons had two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes. … PHI Yuta Watanabe left the game three minutes into the second period with a sprained left ankle after five minutes. Watanabe is averaging 17 minutes per game. … Reservations 2 of 13 in the first half. … Vaughn said he has yet to speak with Irving since the suspension.

Mavericks: Doncic scored 23 of Dallas’ 25 points in the first half. … C Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 11 points off the bench and left the game late in the third quarter with a foot or ankle injury after slipping and falling in the paint.

NEXT

Nets: Host the New York Knicks on Wednesday in the first of four meetings between the rivals.

Mavericks: At Orlando on Wednesday.

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