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    Thu, Dec 8
    Luka Doncic dunk Mavericks vs Pelicans
    Luka Doncic throws it down over a helpless Pelicans defense.

    NEW ORLEANS — Luka Doncic had 49 points and 15 rebounds and the Dallas Mavericks never trailed in a 125-118 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time), their sixth victory in seven games.

    Mavericks vs Pelicans

    Doncic made four of his first five 3-point shots — sometimes skipping back to the defensive end in celebration as the net billowed from a long make — before finishing 7 of 14 from deep.

    Dallas raced to a 45-27 lead after the first quarter, when Doncic scored 19 points and the Mavs combined to make nine of 12 3s. The Mavs took their first lead of 20 or more on another 3 by Davis Bertans on their first shot of the second period.

    New Orleans methodically cut its deficit to single digits late in the second quarter but had trouble staying within 10 for much of the game.


    Doncic pushed the Dallas lead back over 20 again in the third quarter with a sequence that had even New Orleans fans gasping in awe. It started with a driving layup as he was fouled, followed by a 3 and capped by a driving dunk that gave him 20 points in the period and widened the Mavs' lead to its largest of the night at 105-81 heading to the fourth.

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    CJ McCollum scored 38, giving him four straight games with 20 or more, including three with at least 30, but the Pelicans fell to 1-4 since acquiring the star guard from Portland on Feb. 8.

    McCollum scored 18 points in the fourth quarter on an array of crowd-pleasing 3s and driving floaters helped the Pelicans trim their deficit down to just five at 118-113 with 3:36 to play. But Dallas responded with two straight baskets, starting with Doncic's driving layup, to briefly stem the tide.


    The Pelicans got as close as 122-118 when McCollum stole the ball from Doncic for an uncontested layup. But Jalen Brunson, who scored 23, hit two free throws with 28.7 seconds left and New Orleans did not threaten again.

    Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 18 rebounds. Jaxson Hayes, who moved back into the starting lineup at power forward for the first time in five games, scored 18 points.

    Maxi Kleber scored 20 points for the Mavs, who outshot the Pelicans 53.7% (44 of 82) to 50% (46 of 92). That marked the second time in two visits to New Orleans that Dallas shot at least that well, having shot a franchise-record 68.7% (57 of 83) in a 139-107 victory on Dec. 1.

    The Mavs combined to make 19 of 40 3-pointers (47.5%) for the game.



      Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith scored 14 points. ... Reggie Bullock (left hip contusion), Trey Burke (left shoulder sprain) and Frank Ntilikina (left ankle soreness) all sat out after being listed as questionable entering the day. Bullock and Burke both were missing their second straight game while Ntilikina had played in Dallas' previous contest on Tuesday night. ... Played their eighth game this season without trailing once.


      Pelicans: Shot 12 of 28 (42.9%) from 3-point range. ... Valanciunas' double-double was his 35th this season. ... Outscored Dallas 54-46 in the paint and converted 17 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points. ... Brandon Ingram and Devonte' Graham each scored 12 points and Tony Snell added 11.

      UP NEXT

      Mavericks: At Utah on Friday, Feb. 25.

      Pelicans: At Phoenix on Friday, Feb. 25.


      More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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      Luka Doncic throws it down over a helpless Pelicans defense.
      PHOTO: AP
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