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'41 Fireworks!': Doncic Leads Mavs in Tense Victory Over Raptors, 102-98

The Dallas Mavericks notched their fourth-consecutive win by beating the Toronto Raptors 102-98 on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to Luka Doncic's 41-point performance.

DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks entered Wednesday night's matchup against the Toronto Raptors as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, looking to snag their 10th victory in 11 games. The Mavs defended home court and earned the season sweep by beating the Raptors in the final minutes, 102-98. 

In a game that totaled 22 lead changes, Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. provided offensive fireworks when Dallas needed them most. The trio combined for 47 of Dallas' 55 points in the first half. 

The fireworks continued in between possessions too, as Doncic and Raptors coach Nick Nurse had choice words for each other with rising tensions throughout both teams. 

Doncic's 22 first-half points tied his season-high and his 41 total points set a new season-high. Doncic earned his 10th career 40-point game. 

"I just have to keep trusting my shot," said Doncic. "Our defense has been great and offensively we share the ball... Defense has been the key... I think we are playing team defense and that is what is winning the games."

The Slovenian's ability to unlock opportunities for his teammates continued, highlighted by this beautiful no-look alley-oop. Doncic is averaging 9.6 assists per game in January. 

Doncic's struggles from beyond-the-arc improved, going 3-of-8 against Toronto. He also added 14 rebounds and seven assists. As a team, Dallas shot 25.8 percent from three. 

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The Mavs struggled with interior defense against the Raptors early. Toronto totaled 26 points in the paint in the first quarter alone.

Dallas' defense was able to get going in the second half. Containing Fred VanVleet, who is having the best season of his career, was no easy task. He’s averaging 21.9 points per game and totaled 18 tonight. OG Anunoby added 19 points for the Raptors. 

The Mavs lead the league in defensive rating (98) while allowing an average of 94.5 points over the last 10 games. The Mavs aggressiveness is a main reason they have risen to the fifth-seed in the Western Conference standings. 

Porzingis and Hardaway Jr. added 18 and 16 points, respectively. Jalen Brunson had another strong showing, scoring 8 points. Brunson, who currently has the third best odds for sixth man of the year, has become a full-time starter for head coach Jason Kidd.

With 1:50 remaining in the game, Dallas clung to a two-point lead. Van Fleet hit a three-point shot to grab the lead. Doncic answered by driving to the basket for a lay-up to put Dallas up 97-96. On the next possession, Doncic nailed a step-back three to extend the Mavs lead to 100-96 with :59 left on the clock.

The Raptors didn't go down without a fight. Chris Boucher answered with an alley-oop. Then, a fouled Porzingis hit both his free throws... Dallas' 95 percent free throw shooting helped them seal the victory. 

Sterling Brown (left foot soreness) was the only Dallas player to miss tonight’s game against Toronto.

Next, the Phoenix Suns come to Dallas on Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff on TNT. The Mavs have a chance to end an eight-game losing streak against the Suns.