Dallas Mavericks suffer loss at buzzer to Jokic, Denver Nuggets
By Emmanuel Dixon
Three leads. That’s all the Denver Nuggets had the entire game. The latter of the three came at the buzzer, as Nikola Jokic put an exclamation point on a narrow 100-99 come-from-behind victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Dallas Mavericks (27-41) watched as its double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter dwindled. Culminated by a Nikola Jokic buzzer-beating fade away, the Denver Nuggets (45-22) escaped with a 100-99 home victory.
For much of the matchup, Dallas managed to keep an electrifying Nuggets offense at bay, taking a commanding 89-79 lead into the final period. Leading by as many as 12, the game seemed to be put away.
Enter Nikola Jokic.
The all-star center shook himself loose from his quiet night, scoring nine of his 11 points in the deciding quarter. The highlight of his night came as he muscled past Dwight Powell for a leaning one-handed jumper to seal Denver’s comeback. He added 14 rebounds and eight assists.
In a veteran-like move, Luka Doncic put the loss on his shoulders. The rookie point guard struggled from the free-throw line all game, finishing 3-for-7, but the biggest miss came with 5.8 seconds remaining in the contest. That left Dallas’ lead at 99-98, and the door was opened for the ensuing game-winner by Jokic.
Luka missed a triple-double by one assist, scoring a team-high 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Jalen Brunson played poised and in control all game, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists on 53 percent shooting. Powell and Maxi Kleber played solid, chipping in a pair of double-doubles. Powell tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds, as Kleber tacked on 11 points and 11 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 17 points.
For Denver, Paul Millsap scored a game-high 33 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists. Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley added 12 points apiece, and Will Barton netted 11 points.
Whether you’re okay with Dallas tanking or not, this loss stings quite a bit. Losing in this fashion is never a good feeling for players, nor should it be for fans. Dallas returns to action this Saturday, as they host Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8:30 EST. As always, go Mavs!