DALLAS (AP) - Luka Doncic scored a career-high 42 points in his sixth triple-double of the young NBA season and the Dallas Mavericks sent the San Antonio Spurs to their sixth straight loss, 117-110 on Monday night.
Dallas led wire to wire but had to fend off a late Spurs rally, needing every bit of Doncic’s huge performance.
The 20-year-old second-year player leads the NBA in triple-doubles after finishing with 11 rebounds and 12 assists to go with the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer with 26.5 seconds to play that put the Mavericks up 115-110. Doncic joined LeBron James as the only players in NBA history younger than 21 to have a 40-point triple-double.
Dorian Finney-Smith added a career-best 22 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.
San Antonio has lost eight of nine and is off to its worst start since 1996-97, the season before it drafted former star and current assistant coach Tim Duncan. The Spurs’ losing streak is their longest since 2011.
DeMar DeRozan had a season-high 36 points for the Spurs, helping to lead a fourth-quarter surge after they trailed 93-79 entering the period.
With Dallas up 110-107, both Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills missed potential game-tying 3s. Doncic corralled his 10th rebound off Mills’ miss. On the ensuing possession, Finney-Smith scooped up a loose ball and fired an off-balance 20-footer just as the shot clock expired that fell through to put Dallas up five.
After Rudy Gay’s 3 brought the Spurs back within two, Doncic stepped back and hit the 3 that finally finished off San Antonio.
The Spurs scored on 10 of their first 11 possessions in the second half and got within 68-64 midway through the third quarter, but Doncic drove the lane to score and draw a foul. His free throw missed, but Porzingis tracked down the rebound and fed an open Finney-Smith for a dunk.
Dallas used that sequence to start a 17-6 run, with Doncic, Finney-Smith and Porzingis scoring all the points.
The Mavericks blitzed the Spurs early, jumping out to a 32-14 lead behind 17 first-quarter points from Doncic.
DeRozan nearly answered that with 15 points in the second, bringing the Spurs to 59-49 at the break.
Spurs: Coach Gregg Popovich talked about Duncan, in his first season as an assistant coach: “His mere presence is valuable. When a young kid has Tim Duncan put his arm around them and guide them in a certain way, give them a piece of advice, that’s way more important than what I can do.”
Mavericks: This was their first matchup with the Spurs since the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki. He played against the Spurs 78 times in the regular season, more than any other team. Nowitzki also faced San Antonio 36 more times in the playoffs over six series between 2001 and 2014.
Spurs: At the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.