Warriors overcome Doncic, Mavericks for earn 5th straight win

SAN FRANCISCO – With 90 seconds left, Draymond Green met Daniel Gafford at the rim, came down with the block and saved him before he went out of bounds.

Green flexed both biceps before scoring on the other end – his third bucket of the fourth quarter – to give the Warriors an eight-point lead with a minute to play.

Then, Andrew Wiggins pushed a shot over Gafford with 32.2 seconds left. Dallas never gave in and clawed at two, but the Warriors still narrowly escaped.

Steph Curry — who shot 5 of 18 and went scoreless in the fourth — wasn’t having it, but the Warriors got just enough from his supporting cast to sneak past Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.

Doncic, Dallas’ offensive savant, dropped 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. But the Warriors (41-34), led by Chris Paul, Wiggins and Green, took key minutes off Curry to earn their fifth straight victory.

Golden State’s 104-100 victory over Dallas gives them serious breathing room at the bottom of the Western Conference play-in standings. The Warriors hold a three-game lead over the Rockets, who lost Tuesday, with a Thursday game pending at Houston.

Wiggins missed his first three shots and committed a turnover, leading to a slow start after his 2-for-12 performance in San Antonio. But he didn’t get discouraged and scored 23 points, including 12 in the third quarter, while making half of his shots.

Without Jonathan Kuminga, who missed his fourth straight game with bilateral knee tendinitis, the Warriors needed Wiggins to be aggressive. He answered the call with his third 20-point game in his last four contests.

Wiggins also played solid defense against Doncic, but it didn’t make a huge difference. Doncic is so good. No matter which defenders were on the ball or what schemes Golden State tried, the Mavericks star had answers at every level of the court.

In the first half, each team traded baskets, turnovers and unsuccessful challenges. At one point, Curry stripped Derrick Jones Jr. on a spin move, but threw him out of bounds on the other end. Later, Wiggins stuffed Doncic, but Draymond Green turned him over immediately afterward. The head has changed hands nine times.

They even traded groceries. The Warriors held Dallas scoreless for nearly five minutes midway through the second half. Curry hit a pair of 3s and Gary Payton turned defense into offense for a 14-0 run that put the Warriors up 49-36. Then the Mavericks responded with a 13-0 blitz to go into halftime tied.

The first half was oddly symmetrical; both teams committed 11 turnovers and shot 19-for-45 from the floor.

Doncic hit a series of takedowns and catch-and-shoot 3s in the third, but Wiggins and the Warriors stayed close. Moses Moody (12 points), in the rotation due to Kuminga’s absence, provided productive minutes both ways.

Doncic beat Curry and the Warriors for much of the third, but Golden State made the Mavericks pay when he sat back. Chris Paul recorded a miss, an assist to Brandin Podziemski and a 3-point basket to lead a 9-0 run to close the quarter. After three frames, the Warriors led by six and Paul was +12 in as many minutes.

Even when Doncic returned for the fourth, Paul kept Golden State’s second unit on offense. He drilled a baseline jumper at the shot clock horn, Podziemski nailed a 3 and Wiggins converted a push shot.

When Curry returned after an extended rest, the Warriors held a six-point lead. The Warriors double-teamed Doncic for his teammates to beat them.

They couldn’t. Dallas has gone cold. Two goalie calls resulted in buckets for Green. PJ Washington hit a 3 to cut Golden State’s lead to four with 25.9 seconds left and Kyrie Irving’s free throws made the Chase Center crowd even more nervous, but two foul shots from Klay Thompson put end to fear.

And that makes the Rockets a lot less scary.

California Daily Newspapers

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