DALLAS – Vlatko Cancar hit a buzzer-beater from near midcourt when the final 2 seconds of the first half were replayed after the break, and the outmanned Denver Nuggets went on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 98-97 on Sunday night.
The Nuggets went to the locker room thinking they were down seven on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Dallas star Luka Doncic after getting blown out two nights earlier without two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and fellow starters Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon.
Instead, Doncic's Slovenian countryman brought the Nuggets within a point, and the six-point swing paid off when Michael Porter Jr. hit the deciding 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
A video review showed Doncic stepped out bounds before the second-quarter shot, and since the teams were already off the court, the game had to be picked up from that point after the break.
Denver coach Michael Malone put Cancar in the game, and he hit the running heave from near the right sideline after taking the inbound pass. Denver trailed 56-55 at halftime instead of 59-52.
Bones Hyland scored a career-high 29 points, and Porter Jr. had 12 with his only made 3-pointer in five attempts providing the final scoring.
Josh Green had a career-high 23 points for Dallas, but his only miss on an 8-of-9 night, including 6 of 7 from 3, was from long range with the Mavericks leading by two in the final 70 seconds.
Doncic scored 22 with a miss on a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, securing an improbable split of the two games in Dallas for the Nuggets.
Denver had lost its first two games without Jokic and Gordon. Murray missed both in Dallas after joining Jokic in the health and safety protocols. Gordon has been out with a non-COVID-19 illness.
Nuggets: F Jeff Green left with a knee injury in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Cancar had another buzzer-beating 3 in the first quarter of the first meeting. ... DeAndre Jordan had a season-high 17 rebounds.
Mavericks: F Maxi Kleber missed a third consecutive game with a lower back injury after he was upended onto his back in the previous game. ... Davis Bertans scored 12 of his 15 points in the second quarter, when he was 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
Nuggets: Detroit at home Tuesday before another two-game trip that starts in Oklahoma City on the second night of a back-to-back. Denver has won five in a row against the Pistons.
Mavericks: A three-game trip starts Wednesday at Eastern Conference-leading Boston. Dallas has swept the two-game series each of the past two seasons.