Luka Doncic turned in yet another outrageous performance Monday night, dancing and prancing his way pastLuka Brooklyn while helping the Dallas Mavericks eke out a hard-fought 96-94 win over the Nets at American Airlines Center.

Doncic finished with 36 points, six rebounds and six assists and has now scored 30 or more points in all nine Mavs’ games this season. The only player who opened the season with a longer 30-point plus scoring streak in NBA history is Wilt Chamberlain, who tallied 30 or more points in the first 23 games of the 1962-63 season.

And Doncic got plenty of help from Dorian Finney-Smith (18 points) and Josh Green (16 points) as the Mavs won for the fourth straight time and improved to 6-3. But in closing this five-game home stand with an impressive 4-1 record, the Mavs had to overcome an oddity from Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant.

With the Mavs clinging to a 96-93 lead and the Nets inbounding the ball with 9.8 seconds left following a pair of free throws from Finney-Smith, the Mavs wanted to intentionally foul Durant before he could hoist up a potential game-tying three-point attempt. Unfortunately, Finney-Smith fouled Durant while he was in the act of shooting, sending the former University of Texas All-American to the line with a chance to tie the game with just 5.8 seconds remaining.

Durant calmly converted the first throw, which was the 62nd straight free throw he’s made this season. However, he missed the second attempt, then intentionally missed the third attempt, and Baylor-ex Royce O’Neale grabbed the offensive rebound.

LukaHowever, while he was in a crowd near the basket, O’Neale’s pass was stolen by Dwight Powell and the Mavs ran out the clock as the sellout crowd celebrated.

“One word is confidence,” coach Jason Kidd said of Green, who was 5-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-2 from three-point range. “You see his confidence is high, his teammates believe in him, the coaching staff believes in him.

“He played (27) minutes tonight. He deserves those minutes. It’s a positive to give Reggie (Bullock) or Doe (Finney-Smith) a 10-minute break. We’ve asked Reggie and Doe to do a lot, but it just shows that – you’ve got to give (Green) a compliment that he worked extremely hard to put himself in this position.”

In bringing the high energy off the bench — which is his calling card — Green was seemingly everywhere at once. When the Mavs rattled off 14 unanswered points to bolt ahead, 88-78, with 5:07 remaining in the game, Green was right in the middle of the game-changing rally, scoring half of the points.

Doncic lit the fuse with a three-pointer, Green followed with a gravity-defying dunk, and Finney-Smith added a three-point play. Then, after Durant was charged with a foul after he ran into Green – he was setting a screen on the play — Durant drew a technical foul when he questioned the call to the officials too vehemently.

A free throw by Doncic was followed by a pair of free throws from Green. And when Finney-Smith buried a three-pointer with 3:49 to go,Luka suddenly the Mavs had stretched their lead to 91-80.

“That’s Luka trusting me,” Finney-Smith said. “He knew they had two on him and he just said go get the ball.

“That feels good when the best player on our team is telling me to go to the ball down. Even though I tried to give the game away, with the turnover and foul on KD. He had made 62 in a row, but he missed when it counted, and we will take that win.”

Durant, who finished with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting, credited the Mavs for bottling him up at times on the defensive end of the floor.

“They’ll send two or three people at me every time,” Durant said. “They will zone up. They’ve got three or four defenses they run, because they like to switch it up. They have a small team, so they want to be able to cover for each other, so it’s smart.

“They work on a lot of different defenses. When you throw a zone out there and then a triple-team out there, it’s going to muddy up the game. But I thought both sides muddied the game up.”

The only downside for the Mavs occurred when Tim Hardaway Jr. wound up suffering a left hip strain while doing the splits on a non-contact play in the second half. Hardaway scored 11 points in just 14 minutes before crumbling on the court.

Tim“I saw him in the hallway,” Kidd said. “He was happy for the team’s success, but I couldn’t even tell you what happened.”

The Nets came out red hot as they scored 25 points in the game’s opening eight minutes. After a goaltending call on Claxton on a shot attempt by Christian Wood got the Mavs within 14-11 of Brooklyn, the Nets rattled off the ensuing 11 points to take a 25-11 lead with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Nets cooled off considerably and only scored 25 points in the last 16 minutes of the first half, which ended with the Mavs holding onto a slim 52-50 lead after limiting the Nets to just 16 points in the second quarter.

The game turned into a rock ‘em, sock ‘em low-scoring affair with the Nets entering the fourth quarter nursing a 73-72 lead. But with Doncic on-point and Green and Finney-Smith carrying their weight, the Mavs were able to send the Nets home with a 4-7 record.

Green knew this was his time to shine as the Nets were aggressively sending everything but the kitchen sink at Doncic.

“Obviously, Luka has had an amazing season, and like any other team, they’re going to put all the attention on him,” Green said. “So for me, it’s just putting myself into positions where it’s easy for him to get the ball out of his hand and potentially either get it back or try and make a play for the team.

“I mean, we have, what, (73) more games left? And I’m pretty sure every other of the (73) games the team is going to play that same exactGreen way with doubling Luka.”

It was enough to get by the Nets, who played without suspended guard Kyrie Irving.

“Doe did a lot of good things for us,” Kidd said. “We’ll look at that last play where he fouled Durant. It’s a tough play. Bang-bang. He was trying to do the right thing.

“Durant is a smart player and he understood that the time to score and what was taking place, so give him credit. We didn’t fold and we found a way to win against a team – the Nets are playing extremely hard and they’re playing well.”

So, too, are the Mavs.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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