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NBA Playoffs: Luka Dončić and Mavericks bounce back in dominant win over Thunder to take 3-2 lead

Luka Dončić led the Mavericks to a dominant victory in Game 5 of their series against the Thunder on Wednesday night.

Monday, it seemed, was just an off night for Luka Doncic.

The Dallas Mavericks star, after a rough outing in Game 4 of their series, turned to his old self Wednesday night. He didn’t talk much with the authorities, which is a rare sight these days, and his knee didn’t seem to bother him at all. Dončić recorded a huge 30-point triple-double to lead the Mavericks to a 104-92 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series at the Paycom Center.

The victory — after Dončić and the Mavericks missed a perfect opportunity to push the conference’s top seed to the brink of elimination in Game 4 of the series Monday night — now gives Dallas a 3-2 lead in series. They are just one win away from securing a second trip to the Western Conference Finals in the last three seasons and prematurely ending the Thunder’s best season in nearly a decade.

“I was just trying to play basketball, I was just trying to focus on basketball,” Dončić said on TNT. “Sometimes I forget that this is the thing that I love, this is the thing that I do. My mental goal was just to go play basketball, put a smile on my face and go.

After a close opening period, the Mavericks broke the game open in the second quarter. They opened the period on a huge 16-5 run while largely shutting down the Thunder’s offense — which went nearly four full minutes without scoring a basket. Dončić also threw a ridiculous full-court lob to Derek Lively during this sequence.

Even though they jumped by 15 points at the top, the Mavericks held on at the end of the period to take a 10-point lead into the locker room at the break.

Dallas, despite making just two free throws in the first 36 minutes, maintained its double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter. Every time the Thunder started to chip away at the deficit, like after a ridiculous and-one by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the final minute of the period, the Mavericks had the perfect response.

Dončić and the Mavericks also closed the game almost immediately in the fourth quarter. They opened the period on a 10-4 run and forced a Thunder timeout in less than three minutes. Dončić also scored eight of those points, including a deep 3-pointer that suddenly put them up 19.

While the Thunder went on a very quick 10-0 run in the middle of the quarter to threaten Dallas’ victory, it arrived too late. The Mavericks held on to earn the 12-point victory, which was sealed in part by a huge block from Derrick Jones Jr. on a 3-pointer from Chet Holmgren and a huge slam in the final two minutes.

Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 30 points, eight assists and six rebounds in the loss. Holmgren finished with 13 points and four rebounds, and Jalen Williams added 12 points and six rebounds. The Thunder shot just 25 percent from behind the arc as a team, and they allowed more than 100 points for just the third time so far in the playoffs.

Dončić finished with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds after shooting 12 of 22 from the field in Dallas’ victory. It was his third 30-point playoff triple-double of his career. Jones added 19 points while shooting 7 of 9 from the field, and Kyrie Irving finished with 12 points. PJ Washington, who dominated this series, finished with 10 points – all in the second half – and 10 rebounds.

Game 6 of the series will take place Saturday night in Dallas.

News Source : sports.yahoo.com
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