Rookie sensation Luka Doncic is gaining the reputation as one of the league's best clutch performers and he did it again Sunday with 28 points, five coming in the decisive final 2:27 to give the Dallas Mavericks a 102-101 comeback win against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.
Doncic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, a stanza in which Dallas trailed 96-81 with 10:43 to play. Portland built that lead on Damian Lillard's incredible 21-point third quarter, all of which came in the final 5:19 of the period after Dallas came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 67.
Lillard, who started the game 2 of 11 from the field but finished with 30 points on 10-of-23 shooting, made eight consecutive shots, including five 3-pointers for a 92-78 lead after three quarters, and it seemed the Trail Blazers were going to pick up a big road win with a date at Oklahoma City coming up Monday night.
But Doncic, who scored 13 of the final 19 points of the game, and his retooled Mavs consisting of three former bench players in the starting lineup, had other plans.
Dallas increased its defensive intensity and held Portland scoreless for seven minutes of the fourth quarter and limited the Blazers to just nine points, marking the first time Portland lost this season in 34 games when it led after three quarters.
Newcomer Tim Hardaway Jr., acquired in the deal with the New York Knicks along with Kristaps Porzingis, scored 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Dwight Powell had 13 points off the bench and Dorian Finney-Smith added 11 points and six rebounds.
Early on, the Trail Blazers' bench sparked a 20-1 run and Jusuf Nurkic was having his way inside. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but fouled out with about three minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Portland got little else from its starting lineup with CJ McCollum finishing with 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu combined for just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.
--Field Level Media