Doncic’s buzzer-beating 3 lifts Mavs over Celtics 107-104
Luka Doncic did what new Dallas coach Jason Kidd remembers seeing plenty of times a decade ago as the point guard for the Mavericks.
Dallas fans are getting used to this from the young superstar who took the mantle from fellow European Dirk Nowitzki.
Doncic hit a high-arching 3-pointer at the buzzer, another magical moment for the All-Star to give the Mavericks a 107-104 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
The 22-year-old took the inbound with 11 seconds remaining, dribbled past midcourt toward the left wing and lifted the shot over former teammate Josh Richardson, who was facing the Mavericks for the first time since an offseason trade.
"I played with a player like that before here; everybody knows the ball's going to 41 and he delivers," Kidd said. "I think everyone knew the ball was going to 77 and he delivered."
Doncic finished with 33 points to 32 for fellow All-Star Jayson Tatum, who bounced back from two rough shooting nights to help Boston rally from a 17-point halftime deficit with the Celtics missing another All-Star in Jaylen Brown, who has a hamstring injury.
The Celtics finally took their first lead on a 3-pointer from Marcus Smart before Kristaps Porzingis, who returned after missing five games with a back injury, followed a missed 3 by Jalen Brunson with a dunk for a 104-all tie with 1:39 remaining.
Boston could have had the last shot with Dallas inbounding with eight seconds left on the shot clock, but Smart fouled Doncic in the backcourt with the shot clock down to five because Boston had a foul to give. The foul gave the Mavericks the final possession instead.
"I've got to communicate that to everybody so everybody knows," first-year Celtics coach Ime Udoka said.
For Doncic, it was another spectacular buzzer-beater, similar to the first one that got the NBA world talking in the 2020 playoff bubble. Richardson saw a few first-hand last season as well.
"I think I guarded it well," said Richardson, who played after being listed as questionable with a left foot contusion. "He's hit game-winners quite a few times. It's tough, but you've got to give credit where it's due. Good defense. Better offense."
Porzingis had 15 of his 21 points in the second half and seven rebounds. The 7-foot-3 Latvian followed his tying dunk with his lone block on a driving layup attempt by Dennis Schroder, who scored 20 points.
"So happy to be back out on the court," said Porzingis, who hadn't played since leaving the second half of the home opener. "It sucks to not be able to play and help and then on top of that you have to put in all the cardio work to make sure you stay in shape. Playing is the fun part."
Brunson and Reggie Bullock scored 13 points apiece. Doncic, who was 5 of 10 from long range, had nine rebounds and five assists.
Celtics: Richardson scored 13 points. He was a starter most of last season in Dallas before ending up out of the rotation late in the first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He was part of the first significant move under new Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison when he was traded to the Celtics for C Moses Brown, who didn't play. ... Robert Williams III had 16 points and eight rebounds.
Mavericks: Bullock played after missing most of the previous game against San Antonio with a facial injury. ... F Maxi Kleber was out for a third consecutive game with a strained left oblique muscle.
Tatum was 6 of 8 from 3 and 12 of 19 overall after going 7 of 29 the previous two games. He also had 11 rebounds.
"I knew I was struggling on that end to play well and hit shots," Tatum said. "I have put too much time in, too much work in to doubt myself."
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Kidd and Nowitzki won the franchise's only championship together in 2011. Now Kidd is in charge of trying to turn Doncic into a champion. "Luka did what he's done in the past by getting a shot off," Kidd said. "He's done it so many times. It's a beautiful thing to watch in person."
Celtics: Three days off before a home game Wednesday against Toronto. Boston's 115-83 loss to the Raptors in the home opener two weeks ago was the Celtics' worst defeat at TD Garden since Detroit won 118-66 on Jan. 31, 2003.
Mavericks: New Orleans visits Monday. Dallas has won six of the past seven meetings and averaged 134 points in its two victories last season.