Sometimes, you have to find things out the hard way.

Before Monday’s game, Mavericks’ coach Jason Kidd mentioned that the Oklahoma City Thunder were 12-11 when they score 100 points.

When they don’t, they are 2-17.

So of course, the Mavericks were left trying to outlast the young Thunder down the stretch. And yes, the visitors were over 100 points.

The Mavericks survived – barely – after blowing a 22-point lead. They made just enough defensive plays at the end to hold on 104-102 over the Thunder at American Airlines Center.

Luka Doncic, despite 4-of-17 shooting, had a triple-double with 20 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. It was the fifth of this season and the 41st triple-double of his career, one more than all the other Mavericks past and present combined.

They needed all of Luka’s magic, and more.

The Mavericks had led 70-48 in the third quarter.

What happened then?

“They kept playing,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We didn’t.

“They had in the third quarter I think six points in the first six minutes and after I said that to one of the coaches they ended up scoring 54 (more the rest of the half). We really stopped defending. Give them credit.”

This is the sort of lesson that the Mavericks thought they’d learned a long time ago. Hanging on in close games was hard to do for this team consistently the last couple of seasons.

At least this time, it didn’t require them suffering a painful loss to get reminded of the need to play hard until the buzzer.

“We tried to learn those lessons for years now (laughs),” Kristaps Porzingis said. “But I think we’re getting better. We’re more poised in those moments where things are not going our way – a bit more experienced, and I think that helped us win this game late.”

Hanging on wasn’t easy. The Mavericks were dodging bullets from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (34 points). When Tim Hardaway Jr. made one of two free throws with 20 seconds to go, the Thunder had a shot, down 100-97.

But the Mavericks’ defense tightened and forced a turnover that led to Josh Green’s breakaway layup and a five-point lead.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored quickly, but Jalen Brunson was fouled with 8.9 seconds left. His two free throws left OKC down 104-99. A 3-pointer by Ty Jerome led to a quick foul that sent Green going to the line.

He missed both shots and the Thunder called timeout with 2.5 showing. But they could not get a shot off as rookie Josh Giddey’s pass was intercepted by Hardaway.

The Mavericks now have won nine of their last 10 games dating to New Year’s Eve and moved to 25-19, the first time this season they’ve been six games above .500.

They own a three-game winning streak with three more home games coming up later this week.

They even survived a couple of presumably minor injuries in the second half when first Maxi Kleber left the game with a sore left knee. Jalen Brunson was hindered slightly by a left thigh issue and, most concerning, Doncic came up limping after getting kicked on his perennially sore left ankle.

“Just a sprain, it’s OK,” Doncic said. “I just need to ice and rest it but it will be fine.”

What wasn’t so fine was his shooting. He was clearly frustrated by the off night, but he understands that comes with the territory sometimes.

“I can’t explain. I missed like two or three wide open layups and there is nothing I can really say,” he said. “I need to just be better than that. I think I need to shoot way better.”

Kidd was not concerned about the frosty shooting night.

“It’s not always going to go in, you’ve just got to keep shooting,” Kidd said. “He’s got great looks. He’s just got to keep shooting.

“You just keep playing and they find other ways to help the team win, and that’s what he did tonight. He had another triple-double, which is kind of remarkable because he’s not shooting the 3 well but he can do other things and that just shows his growth.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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