DENVER (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — From the 3-point line, in the paint, offense, defense Luka Doncic does whatever needs to be done… including passing to a teammate when the game is on the line.
Maxi Kleber rewarded Doncic’s trust with a clutch 3-pointer late in regulation, then set up a teammate himself for another huge 3 in overtime to lead the Dallas Mavericks over the Denver Nuggets 124-117 Thursday night.
Maxi Kleber #42 of the Dallas Mavericks drives against Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets on January 07, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Doncic came within one rebound of his second straight triple-double, finishing with 38 points and 13 assists. He sat out Sunday’s loss to Chicago and responded with his first triple-double of the season against Houston on Monday. He followed that up with a season high in points.
Nikola Jokic scored 20 of his 38 points after halftime and grabbed 11 rebounds for Denver. Jamal Murray added 21 points and nine assists.
The Nuggets led by one in the final seconds of regulation when Kleber came through. Doncic had the ball with time running out, and when the defense collapsed on him he found Kleber, whose 3-pointer put Dallas up 109-107 with 2.4 seconds left.
“He’s a great shooter. He’s a great player. He does a lot of stuff that few people see,” Doncic said. “Our whole team sees that. It was a great shot. Even if he would have missed it, it was a great shot.”
Luka Doncic (#77) of the Dallas Mavericks prepares to play defense against the Denver Nuggets on January 7, 2021. (credit: AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Jokic capped a 17-point fourth quarter with an 18-foot jumper at the horn to send the game to overtime, and Kleber delivered again. He fed Josh Richardson for a 3 with 1:25 left that put the Mavericks ahead 119-114. Denver got within three on a 3-pointer from Jokic, but Doncic scored four straight to ice it for the Mavericks.
Richardson finished with 14 points, including a tiebreaking jumper before his 3-pointer.
“We had the game. We had the game,” Murray said. “We just didn’t close it like we should have.”
Dallas rallied from four down to take a 101-97 lead on a 3 by Kleber, his first points of the night, but Jokic scored the next five to put Denver ahead.
“I’m trying to be ready and take that shot with confidence,” Kleber said. “Shots are going to fall or not — you just have to trust and believe.”
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)