NEW ORLEANS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — As he watched his late, rainbow 3-pointer drop in off the glass, Luka Doncic skipped backward toward the defensive end for the Dallas Mavericks with a snarl on his face and clenched fists lowered near each hip.
“He makes those shots. He’s wild,” teammate Kristaps Porzingis said. “At the end of the game, he was really clutch.”
Doncic highlighted his triple-double by scoring eight of his 25 points in the final five minutes, and the Mavericks topped New Orleans 123-116 in the Pelicans’ home opener Friday night.
Doncic also had 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Porzingis added 24 points and five blocks to help Dallas start 2-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
“Everybody’s happy after this win, but it’s just the start,” Doncic said, adding he wants to see the Mavs in the playoff hunt come April. “We’ve got to keep it going.”
Delon Wright scored 18 points, effectively finding close-range shots with decisive cuts and drives to the hoop, and highlighted a strong defensive outing with a late steal.
“He played an amazing game,” Doncic said. “He was the key to our win.”
Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 25 points after scoring 22 in a loss at defending NBA champion Toronto in overtime to open the season Tuesday night.
The game was tied at 109 after Ingram’s jumper with about five minutes left, but Doncic responded with a jumper while being fouled by Jrue Holiday to start a six-point mini-run capped by Jalen Brunson’s turnaround near the baseline that made it 115-109.
New Orleans missed five straight 3-pointers before Ingram finally hit one to make it 115-112. Doncic’s right-handed runner in the lane over a crowd of defenders, followed by his left wing 3 off the glass with 1:23 left, made it 120-113, and the Pelicans couldn’t recover.
“That’s him,” Porzingis said of Doncic. “He loves those moments. I love those moments. And we’re going to try to be dangerous there at the end.”
Derrick Favors and Josh Hart each had 16 points for the Pelicans. Lonzo Ball added 15.
Holiday, however, labored through an uncharacteristically rough shooting night, going just 2 of 11 from the field.
“I feel like we go through this every year, especially with me, but it’s just timing — new lineups, new situations, new team,” Holiday said. “There’s always a positive. Last two games, we were in it at the end, so we’ll just go back to the film and see what we can do.”
The Mavericks are now 4-3 and will take on the Trail Blazers tomorrow night at 6 p.m.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)