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Doncic passes up shot at winner as T-Wolves top Mavs 110-108

DALLAS (AP) �� Luka Doncic has drawn plenty of comparisons to LeBron James during a sensational rookie season for the Dallas Mavericks.

If the 20-year-old Slovenian passes up a potential winning shot in a playoff race one of these days the same way he did in a late-season matchup of also-rans, Doncic will be tied to James in a way he might not like as much.

Doncic deferred to Jalen Brunson on a 3-pointer that the fellow rookie missed at the buzzer after Andrew Wiggins hit a go-ahead layup for the Minnesota, and the Timberwolves turned away a fourth-quarter Dallas rally in a 110-108 victory over the Mavericks on Wednesday night.

While he shot just 23% from long range in March and was cold again in his first April game, Doncic had given the Mavericks one of their late leads with the same step-back 3 that has drawn comparisons to reigning MVP James Harden.

But with the clock at 1.1 seconds and Doncic in position for another step-back attempt above the key, he slipped a pass to Brunson on the left wing. If the shot from the two-time NCAA champion from Villanova had gone in, it would have required a replay to see if Brunson got it off in time.

Earlier in his career, James was occasionally criticized for passing up shots late in games.

"For me it's not a question," said Doncic, who had 27 points and 12 rebounds after missing two games with a right thigh contusion. "I trusted him. The whole team trusted him. It was a great shot. Sometimes it's not going to go in."

Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and 13 rebounds as the Timberwolves won for the third time in 11 games and avoided a three-game season sweep by Dallas, which trailed by 12 early in the fourth.

Wiggins scored 19 points, including a tiebreaking layup on an assist from Josh Okogie with 19 seconds remaining.

On the final play, Doncic created separation on Okogie to set up for the step-back try, while Tyus Jones came off Brunson to run at Doncic, prompting the pass.

"That was a great possession," Towns said. "Tyus pulled all the way over, getting the ball out of Luka's hands and getting it to Brunson's hands. To get the ball out of his hands and put it in Brunson's, it falls in our favor."

Dwight Powell finished a point off his career high with 25 for Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki, who has just two home games remaining in what is expected to be the 40-year-old's final season, scored nine points. The Mavericks were coming off their first two-game winning streak since early February.

Nowitzki scored his first seven points in the first 3½ minutes of the second quarter after joining a presentation from Dallas County officials, who a day earlier declared April the "month of Dirk" while honoring him for recently passing Wilt Chamberlain for sixth on the career scoring list.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Jones scored 15, and Dario Saric added 14. ... Wiggins had a game-high seven assists. ... The assist on Wiggins' go-ahead basket was the only one of the game for Okogie.

Mavericks: F Dorian Finney-Smith sat with a cut on his mouth. He was the only player to appear in all 77 Dallas games coming in. ... Brunson scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter, but had his 15-game streak of double-digit scoring stopped. ... After making two 3s in a game for the first time in his career in a win over Philadelphia, 7-foot-2 center Salah Mejri missed all four from long range but made all five from inside the arc and scored 11 points.

COLD TO HOT

Towns was 12 of 15 from the field after shooting 35% (27 for 78) in his previous four games. "I've been on a very rough stretch, to say the least," said Towns, who scored at least 30 in both of the previous Dallas meetings. "My dad always taught me you want to be the guy, no matter how bad you're shooting from the field or in the game, when the game's on the line you've gotta make the shot. It's good to have some confidence from a game like tonight."

STILL COLD

Doncic was 2 of 8 from 3 is shooting 23 percent from beyond the arc since March 1. But he wasn't the only cold Dallas shooter. Nowitzki, playing a record 21st season with the same franchise, was 1 of 8 as the Mavericks shot 18% (7 of 39) from beyond the arc.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Miami at home Friday.

Mavericks: Memphis at home Friday.

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Key Players
K. Towns
32 C
L. Doncic
77 SF
32.2 Min. Per Game 32.2
21.1 Pts. Per Game 21.1
5.9 Ast. Per Game 5.9
7.6 Reb. Per Game 7.6
51.7 Field Goal % 42.7
51.4 Three Point % 42.4
83.2 Free Throw % 71.1
  DAL team rebound 0:00
  Jalen Brunson missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:00
  Personal foul on Josh Okogie 0:10
+ 2 Jalen Brunson made driving layup, assist by Justin Jackson 0:40
+ 2 Karl-Anthony Towns made finger-roll layup 0:48
+ 2 Karl-Anthony Towns made fade-away jump shot, assist by Tyus Jones 1:18
+ 2 Luka Doncic made jump shot 1:34
  Offensive rebound by Luka Doncic 1:37
  Offensive rebound by Luka Doncic 1:43
  Salah Mejri missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:47
+ 1 Andrew Wiggins made free throw 2:01
Team Stats
Points 110 108
Field Goals 42-86 (48.8%) 43-94 (45.7%)
3-Pointers 10-27 (37.0%) 7-39 (17.9%)
Free Throws 16-20 (80.0%) 15-19 (78.9%)
Total Rebounds 44 59
Offensive 5 12
Defensive 33 37
Team 6 10
Assists 26 26
Steals 6 2
Blocks 3 5
Turnovers 8 13
Fouls 25 20
Technicals 0 0
28 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST
27 PTS, 12 REB, 6 AST
1234T
away team logo Timberwolves 35-43 32263121110
home team logo Mavericks 31-47 27312129108
Team Stats
away team logo Timberwolves 35-43 PPG RPG APG
home team logo Mavericks 31-47 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
K. Towns C PPG RPG APG FG%
L. Doncic SF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
K. Towns C 28 PTS 13 REB 3 AST
L. Doncic SF 27 PTS 12 REB 6 AST
48.8 FG% 45.7
37.0 3PT FG% 17.9
80.0 FT% 78.9
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Towns 28 13 3 12/15 0/0 4/6 2 36 0 3 1 3 10 +7 49
A. Wiggins 19 3 7 6/15 1/5 6/6 3 35 2 0 1 0 3 -9 37
T. Jones 15 1 6 6/9 3/3 0/0 2 33 0 0 0 0 1 +11 28
D. Saric 14 5 3 5/14 2/8 2/2 4 29 1 0 0 2 3 -4 26
J. Okogie 9 3 1 4/9 1/2 0/0 4 26 1 0 0 0 3 +9 15
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Towns 28 13 3 12/15 0/0 4/6 2 36 0 3 1 3 10 +7 49
A. Wiggins 19 3 7 6/15 1/5 6/6 3 35 2 0 1 0 3 -9 37
T. Jones 15 1 6 6/9 3/3 0/0 2 33 0 0 0 0 1 +11 28
D. Saric 14 5 3 5/14 2/8 2/2 4 29 1 0 0 2 3 -4 26
J. Okogie 9 3 1 4/9 1/2 0/0 4 26 1 0 0 0 3 +9 15
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
G. Dieng 8 4 4 3/8 0/0 2/2 2 17 0 0 2 0 4 +4 18
C. Reynolds 7 4 0 2/4 1/3 2/2 4 14 0 0 1 0 4 -1 10
J. Bayless 5 1 1 2/3 1/1 0/2 1 14 0 0 0 0 1 -9 8
K. Bates-Diop 5 2 1 2/6 1/2 0/0 1 19 2 0 1 0 2 +5 10
A. Tolliver 0 2 0 0/3 0/3 0/0 2 11 0 0 2 0 2 -3 0
D. Rose - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Gibson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Teague - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Covington - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Terrell - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Creek - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Deng - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 110 38 26 42/86 10/27 16/20 25 234 6 3 8 5 33 +10 201
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
L. Doncic 27 12 6 11/21 2/8 3/3 1 31 0 1 4 4 8 -15 48
D. Powell 25 8 2 8/9 0/1 9/10 3 30 2 1 0 4 4 -1 40
D. Nowitzki 9 4 2 4/12 1/8 0/0 0 22 0 0 1 0 4 -7 16
J. Brunson 9 3 3 4/12 1/4 0/0 4 31 0 0 2 0 3 -15 16
J. Jackson 9 3 5 4/11 1/4 0/2 2 32 0 0 0 1 2 -13 22
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
L. Doncic 27 12 6 11/21 2/8 3/3 1 31 0 1 4 4 8 -15 48
D. Powell 25 8 2 8/9 0/1 9/10 3 30 2 1 0 4 4 -1 40
D. Nowitzki 9 4 2 4/12 1/8 0/0 0 22 0 0 1 0 4 -7 16
J. Brunson 9 3 3 4/12 1/4 0/0 4 31 0 0 2 0 3 -15 16
J. Jackson 9 3 5 4/11 1/4 0/2 2 32 0 0 0 1 2 -13 22
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
T. Burke 12 2 4 5/9 2/5 0/0 1 16 0 0 3 1 1 +13 19
S. Mejri 11 5 0 5/9 0/4 1/2 5 17 0 1 1 1 4 0 16
D. Harris 4 3 2 1/4 0/1 2/2 2 16 0 0 0 0 3 +13 11
M. Kleber 2 6 1 1/4 0/1 0/0 2 26 0 2 1 1 5 +4 11
C. Lee 0 3 1 0/3 0/3 0/0 0 16 0 0 1 0 3 +11 4
J. Barea - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Hardaway Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Porzingis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Finney-Smith - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Macon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Antetokounmpo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Broekhoff - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 108 49 26 43/94 7/39 15/19 20 237 2 5 13 12 37 -10 203