LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) - Luka Doncic nailed two clutch three-pointers, including the NBA game winner with one second left, to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a thrilling 110-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday (Feb 23) in Texas.
He drained a step-back three pointer with 15 seconds left to make it 107-105 and then repeated the feat by shooting a high arching 28-footer (about 8.5m) over two Celtic defenders with less than a second left to win it.
The 21-year-old Slovenian finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Mavs earned their sixth win in seven games.
"It felt great. We needed this win badly. We somehow managed to win the game," he said.
"I know my team trusts me. If two guys go on me and my teammates are open I will pass, but it is about finding the best shot and that is what happened today."
Doncic's winner came immediately after the Celtics' Jaylen Brown made a lay-up to level the score in front of the crowd of a pandemic-limited crowd of 3,300 at American Airlines Centre in Dallas.
Dallas was able to win despite playing without Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber. The Latvian missed his second straight National Basketball Association game with back trouble and the German sat out with a left ankle sprain.
Jalen Brunson scored 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Brown had 29 and Jayson Tatum tallied 28 for Boston, who lost their second straight.
The Celtics bungled a 24-point lead on Sunday in a 120-115 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Also, Furkan Korkmaz jump-started the offence and Tobias Harris closed it out as the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Toronto Raptors 109-102.
Korkmaz scored 16 of his season-best 19 points in the first quarter and Harris tallied 12 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth for the 76ers, who snapped a string of 16 consecutive regular-season road losses to the Raptors.
Sixers centre Joel Embiid added 18 points and 12 rebounds to end a streak of 14 straight games in which he had scored at least 25 points.
Ben Simmons chipped in 15 points and Shake Milton and Danny Green each scored 11 in the win.
Norman Powell had 24 points and Pascal Siakam added 22 for the Raptors, who had their four-game win streak halted.
Fred VanVleet had 12 points, Aron Baynes had 11 and Chris Boucher and O.G. Anunoby each scored 10 points.
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Bucks spoiled the coaching debut of Chris Finch with a 139-112 rout of the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves.
Antetokounmpo was one of seven Bucks who scored in double figures as they won their third straight.
The contest marked the coaching debut of Finch, who was hired Monday to replace Ryan Saunders, fired the day before. Finch was an assistant coach with the Raptors.
Milwaukee's eight game home stand gets more difficult as they next face Denver, Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans.
Meanwhile, James Harden posted another triple-double as Brooklyn finished strong down the stretch and extended their winning streak to seven games with a 127-118 victory over the skidding Sacramento in New York.
He ended with 29 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for his sixth triple-double as a Net. Bruce Brown added a career-high 29 points on 11 of 13 from the field. Kyrie Irving added 21 points as the Nets again played without Kevin Durant (strained hamstring).
Elsewhere, Lamar Stevens' slam dunk with 4.1 seconds left lifted Cleveland to a narrow 112-111 win over visiting Atlanta, ending the Cavaliers' 10-game losing streak.
Collin Sexton finished with 29 points and five assists for Cleveland. Darius Garland added 17 points and eight assists, and rookie Dylan Windler set career highs with 15 points and five 3-point baskets.
The Hawks got 28 points and 12 assists from Trae Young, 22 points from Kevin Huerter and 12 points and 16 rebounds from Clint Capela. Young sank just nine of 27 field-goal attempts.
And Stephen Curry ended a scoring drought by sinking a tiebreaking three-pointer with 3:38 to play and the visiting Golden State survived a slow-starting fourth quarter to hold off New York 114-106.
He scored 37 points and Kelly Oubre Jr had 19 for Golden State. The Warriors won for the first time in three games on their current trip and avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.