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'Winning Ugly!': Doncic Triple-Double Pushes Mavs Past Thunder, 104-102

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night thanks in large part to Luka Doncic posting his 41st career triple-double.

The Dallas Mavericks came into Monday night's matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder looking to keep the momentum going from having won nine of their last 11 games. Although it didn't happen as easily as they would've liked, the Mavs ultimately came away with a 104-102 win, putting them six games over .500 for the first time this season. Sometimes you just have to win ugly in this league.

Despite shooting just 4-of-17 from the field and 0-of-6 from three-point range, Luka Doncic posted the 41st triple-double of his young career. Doncic finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists on the night. He now has more triple-doubles than every other Maverick in franchise history combined.

"I can't explain it," said Doncic, who was not satisfied with his performance. "I missed like two or three wide open layups, and there is nothing I can really say. I need to just be better than that.“

Doncic also recorded three steals and three blocks on the night, making him only the 21st player in NBA history to put up a 20-point triple-double while tallying that many steals and blocks.

"(Luka's getting) great looks," said head coach Jason Kidd. "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 three well, but he can do other things, and that just shows his growth."

In what was yet another well-balanced effort, five more Mavericks joined Doncic by scoring in double digits. Dorian Finney-Smith was Dallas' second-leading scorer with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from deep. Finney-Smith also grabbed 10 rebounds.

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"Shooting the ball is mostly mental," said Finney-Smith, who struggled to find the bottom of the net to start this season. "You've got to shoot the ball and think it's going in. ... We kind of took our foot off the gas. (OKC) did a great job."

Jalen Brunson, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 14, 13 and 12 points respectively tonight. Brunson was a team-high +14 on the night, Porzingis ended up with five blocked shots and Hardaway Jr. nailed three of his seven three-point attempts.

Porzingis, who is on a 30-minute restriction after returning from COVID protocols, was benched for the final four minutes of the game after he was dunked on by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Porzingis was visibly frustrated by the move as he made his way to the bench during a timeout, and it made for a little bit of drama that he was asked about after the game.

"(It was) just an internal thing," said Porzingis. "Players get frustrated with things. It's nothing special. I got a bit frustrated in the moment, and that was it. We moved on."

The young Thunder were resilient tonight, clawing their way back into the game in the third quarter when it looked like the Mavs were getting ready to run away with it. OKC was led by Gilgeous-Alexander, who finished the night with a game-high 34 points to go with six rebounds and five assists.

With the win, the Mavs have now won nine of their last 10 games. Although the win against OKC was ugly, the Mavs never trailed in the game. In fact, the Mavs haven't trailed in a game since the 6:42 mark of the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies last Friday night.

Dallas currently occupies the fifth-seed in the Western Conference standings. The Mavs are just 4.5 games back of both the third-seeded Grizzlies and 4.0 games back of the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz with 38 games remaining in the season. Dallas still has one more game to play against Memphis and three more games to play against Utah.

Next up, the Mavs will take on the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night at AAC. It will be Dallas' fourth game of this current five-game home stand. Perhaps Mavs general manager Nico Harrison can persuade Raptors general manager to buyout Goran Dragic after Wednesday's game.