National

NBA playoffs: Luka Dončić, Mavericks bounce back in dominant win over Thunder to take 3-2 lead

Monday, it seems, was just an off night for Luka Dončić.

The Dallas Mavericks star, following a rough outing in Game 4 of their series, looked back to his old self on Wednesday night. He wasn't arguing with officials much at all, which is a bit of a rare sight as of late, and his knee didn't seem to be bothering him at all. Dončić recorded a massive 30-point triple-double to lead the Mavericks to a 104-92 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals series at the Paycom Center.

The win — after Dončić and the Mavericks blew a perfect opportunity to push the top seed in the conference to the edge of elimination in Game 4 of the series on Monday night — now has Dallas up 3-2 in the series. They’re just one win away from securing a second Western Conference finals trip in the past three seasons, and ending the Thunder’s best season in nearly a decade prematurely.

"I [was] just trying to play basketball, just trying to focus on basketball," Dončić said on TNT. "Sometimes I forget this is the thing I love, this is the thing I do. My mental focus was to just go out there and play basketball, put a smile on my face and just go."

After a tight opening period, the Mavericks ripped the game open in the second quarter. They opened the period on a huge 16-5 run while largely shutting down the Thunder offense — which went nearly four full minutes without making a field goal. Dončić threw a ridiculous full-court lob to Dereck Lively during that stretch, too.

Though they jumped up by 15 points at the peak, the Mavericks held on late in the period to take a 10-point lead into the locker room at the break.

Dallas, despite taking just two free throws through the first 36 minutes, maintained its double digit lead entering the fourth quarter. Every time the Thunder started to cut into the deficit, like after a ridiculous and-one from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the final minute of the period, the Mavericks had the perfect answer.

Dončić and the Mavericks closed the game out almost immediately in the fourth quarter, too. They opened the period on a 10-4 run and forced a Thunder timeout not even three minutes in. Dončić accounted for eight of those points, too, including a deep 3-pointer that suddenly put them up by 19.

While the Thunder mounted a very quick 10-0 run of their own midway through the quarter to threaten Dallas' win, it came too late. The Mavericks held on to grab the 12-point win, which was sealed in part by a huge Derrick Jones Jr. block on a Chet Holmgren 3-pointer and a huge slam in the final two minutes.

Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 30 points, eight assists and six rebounds in the loss. Holmgren finished with 13 points and four rebounds, and Jalen Williams added 12 points and six rebounds. The Thunder shot just 25% from behind the arc as a team, and they allowed more than 100 points for just the third time so far this postseason.

Dončić finished with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds after he shot 12-of-22 from the field in the win for Dallas. It marked his third 30-point postseason triple-double of his career. Jones added 19 points while shooting 7-of-9 from the field, and Kyrie Irving finished with 12 points. P.J. Washington, who has dominated this series, finished with 10 points — all of which came in the second half — and 10 rebounds.

Game 6 of the series is set for Saturday night in Dallas.

Listen

news

weather

traffic

mobile apps

Everything you love about wdbo.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!