Sometimes the basketball gods have an unusual sense of humor.Luka

What other explanation is there for how the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t beat New Orleans, Orlando, Washington, Denver and Toronto without their best player(s), but somehow mustered up enough energy to defeat the defending world champion Golden State Warriors with their best players? That’s what happened Tuesday night as Luka Doncic put on a special performance while collecting his 51st career triple-double in guiding the Mavs to a much-needed 116-113 triumph over the Warriors before a loud sellout crowd of 20,277 at American Airlines Center.

But victory wasn’t tucked neatly away until one of the NBA’s all-time greatest three-pointer shooters – Klay Thompson – rose up and missed a wide-open three-point shot at the buzzer. Thompson, who had just five points on 2-of-9 shooting, had enough time to order dinner before he got off a shot that seemingly was in the air forever.

“It literally felt like that shot was up in the air for 10 minutes, and I was just waiting,” said Mavs guard Josh Green, who scored 13 points. “He’s a great player and a great shooter. It’s always very suspenseful when you have one of the best shooters of all-time shooting the game-winning shot.”

The critical miss by Thompson enabled the Mavs to snap their season-high four-game losing streak and square their record at 10-10 entering a two-game trip that starts Thursday in Detroit. It also dropped the Warriors to a modest 11-11 overall and an eye-opening 2-10 on the road.

This game was a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals won by the Warriors in five games. And with Doncic firing in 41 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, dispensing 12 assists and collecting four steals, the Mavs were able to get some measure of revenge on a Warriors’ squad that came into the game winners in five of their previous six games while playing their best basketball of the season.

LukaBut with Doncic producing a stat line that only Larry Bird has produced in the history of the NBA, the Mavs were able to send their fans home smiling about a job well done by their favorite team.

In the meantime, coach Jason Kidd joked that “it’s getting boring” watching Doncic put a proverbial stamp on what was his third 40-point triple-double of the season.

“Look, he’s one of the best in the world, and that’s what he does,” Kidd said. “I said this earlier, some of us in this room can take him for granted.

“The man is special, the guy loves competition. And when you have a triple-double like that it’s not easy because he’s marked once he pulls up in his car. You’re going to have a double-team or they’re not going to let him play.”

In a double-overtime game against Portland on March 15, 1992, Bird torched Portland for 49 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals. Tuesday it was Doncic’s turn to do the torching as he tied Dirk Nowitzki for second-place in franchise history with 20 games scoring 40 or more points, and trailing only Mark Aguirre, who had 22 games with 40 or more points.

“I just participated and gave it everything I’ve got,” said Doncic, who was 14-of-27 from the field and 4-of-9 from three-point range. “I was really tired at the end – I’m not going to lie. I think we deserved this win.”

For the Mavs, the win came after they had to adjust on the fly when guard Spencer Dinwiddie was ejected with 10:52 remaining for accidently elbowing Jordan Poole on the chin with Dallas clinging to a 93-90 lead. Already short on ball-handlers, it really became all hands on deck with Dinwiddie in the locker room.

“Josh played incredible tonight for us. But I thought we had to bring Luka back a little bit earlier because of the ball handling situation and I thought he did a really good job of trusting his teammates, especially down the stretch. Josh made some great plays for us on both ends of the floor.”

A jumper by Doncic with 59.3 seconds left inched the Mavs ahead, 115-112. Stephen Curry shaved a point off that lead when he nailed a free throw after he was fouled by Maxi Kleber before the Warriors could inbound the ball.

However, with 10.1 seconds to go and the Warriors down two points, Curry was whistled for traveling near the top of the key. Dorian Finney-Smith then split a pair of freebies with 4.4 seconds remaining, setting the stage for the dramatic ending which ended when Thompson couldn’t convert from downtown with the game on the line.

TimMeanwhile, Hardaway had a talk with Kidd earlier this week about his game, and that proved to be fruitful as he finished with 22 points while converting 5-of-11 three-pointers.

“I’m not going to get too deep into the conversation,” Hardaway said. “It’s between us, but you know it was great – just to be able to talk and communicate and hear each other speak.

“It was all great, it was all positive, and just one thing I will say he just wanted me to go out there and have fun and be the Tim that everybody knows. For the most part, that’s what I tried to do.”

The Mavs started fast with a 23-6 lead and were up 55-54 lead at in halftime. In a frantic fourth quarter that played out like a playoff game. a steal and dunk by Poole pushed Golden State up, 100-96, with 9:46 remaining in the game.

Shortly after that, Doncic – the sixth player to record at least five triple-doubles with 40 or more points — took over and scored nine points down the stretch.

“His size and his ball handling skills keep you on edge the whole game,” said Curry, who tallied 32 points and added five assists. “That, plusGreen being a three-level scorer, you have to worry about everything. He can get the step-back threes going, so you have to press into him. He is shifty and has a great handle, so he can use his leverage to get by you.

“Obviously, his court vision is unreal. He is kind of the offensive package of just being a playmaker and scorer. When he is knocking down shots like he did tonight, he is tough. You want to take something away from him, but he kept making play after play, and even a couple defensive plays on the other side – a couple of steals and a strip on me.”

And Doncic definitely played at an extremely high level – and was extra special — against the defending world champions.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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