NBA highlights on Jan. 2: Mavs pull away in 4th to win over Nets

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts during play against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 2, 2020. (Photos: CGTN)

With Luka Doncic resting and Dallas' other two top scorers out with injuries, Seth Curry kept the Mavericks even with Brooklyn until the 20-year-old phenom could take over again.

Curry scored 15 of his 25 points with Doncic sitting the last half of the third quarter, before the 2019 Rookie of the Year had 15 of his 31 in the fourth as the Mavericks pulled away for a 123-111 victory over the Nets on Thursday night.

Dallas avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season in the second straight game without 7-foot-3 forward Kristaps Porzingis and shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who together have been good for about 30 points a night.

Curry made all five of his 3-pointers. ''A lot of guys can make plays and we never know who's going to get the touches or the shots that night other than Luka,'' Curry said. ''It's fun to play. Every night it seems like somebody different is making a big impact.''

Seth Curry #30 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against Wilson Chandler #21 of the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, January 2, 2020.

Maxi Kleber scored a season-high 18 points, making his first three 3-pointers and finishing 3 of 4 as the Mavericks shot 46 percent from long range (18 of 29) to open a six-game homestand, their longest of the season.

Doncic remained tied with Jason Kidd for the franchise record for triple-doubles in one season with nine. That's in part because he had seven assists while taking more of the scoring load. Doncic had a game-high 13 rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie led seven Brooklyn players in double figures with 19 points, but the Nets shot 33 percent while getting outscored 30-18 in the fourth quarter and losing their fourth straight game for the first time this season.

Thunder snap 9-game skid in San Antonio, 109-103

Chris Paul isn't slowing down in his 16th NBA season, especially against San Antonio.

Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, January 2, 2020.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 25 points, Paul added 16 and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to beat the Spurs 109-103 on Thursday night, snapping a nine-game skid in San Antonio.

Paul has had many memorable battles against San Antonio, including the winning shot for the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015 playoffs to eliminate the Spurs. There was no winner Thursday, but Paul dropped San Antonio again in the fourth.

"That's who he is. It's not like he's a no-name," San Antonio guard Lonnie Walker IV said. "He's a great player. He made shots when it was most important, which was in the fourth quarter, and led his team to victory."

Paul had 10 points in the final quarter to help Oklahoma City win its fourth straight and overcome 30 points from San Antonio's DeMar DeRozan.

DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs and Bryn Forbes #11 react after a Oklahoma City Thunder basket during second half action at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, January 2, 2020.

"It's always tough when you're playing against a high IQ point guard like Chris Paul," DeRozan said. "Once you have knowledge of the game, there's not much you haven't seen. No matter how fast you go, at the end of the game. it's all about smarts."

The Thunder won the battle between the current seventh and eighth seeds in the Western Conference, extending their lead over the Spurs to four games.

"This is a tough place to play, tough place to win," Paul said. "At some point, we could have laid down, but we're not built like that. Guys kept playing, kept competing."

That could also be said about Oklahoma City's season thus far. The Thunder (19-15) are battling for a playoff spot in what some considered a rebuilding season after the team traded All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the off season.

LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, January 2, 2020.

"He's an incredible guy," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said of Paul. "He's very, very generous. He's a great leader. Coming into an environment and a team with as many new players. For him, they're all new, having not played with anybody. The way he's tried to reach out and extend himself and build a chemistry inside our team, it's been incredible to watch."

The Thunder had a season-low four turnovers, including just one by Paul in 32 minutes.

Oklahoma City had five players score at least 13 points, including 19 from Dennis Schroder.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points for San Antonio. Aldridge finished 4 for 4 on 3-pointers two games after setting a career-high with five 3-pointers.

"We didn't move the ball very well tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I think we were on the dribble too much. We didn't really attack. I thought they attacked a lot better than we did. They just (went) straight ahead at the rim, found people, and we were too much on the dribble and never really got out of it."