Luka Doncic continues to dazzle NBA crowds and shatter long-standing league records along the way. One may fall tonight, when the Mavs’ wonderkid from Slovenia steps on the floor of the American Airlines Center in Dallas to play the visiting Sacramento Kings. Having recorded last night his 18th straight performance when he had at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, Doncic has tied Michael Jordan for the best ever achievement in that department since NBA and ABA merged in 1976, and now has an excellent opportunity to eclipse His Airness.
Against the Pelicans on Saturday, he needed only 26 minutes to score 26 points, collect six rebounds and hand out nine assists before taking his well-earned rest on the bench. The Mavericks cruised to their 16th win of the season, trouncing the Pelicans by a 46-point margin, 130-84.
As the two teams were warming up, Derek Harper, the Mavs’ retired legend who spent 11 seasons calling plays for Dallas, offered praise for the Slovenian sensation currently running the team’s offense.
“Luka has been fantastic all season long, he really shoots the basketball well from the outside, scores on the inside, [he is] a walking triple-double. The guy is extremely versatile as an offensive player, there’s no stopping him,” said Harper, who currently works on Fox Sports as game analyst, and is one of only three players in the Mavs’ history to have his jersey retired.
During the game, Doncic displayed his wide arsenal of offensive moves, drawing praise from Harper quite a few times. Doncic’s ability to operate smoothly in traffic, with a lot of bodies around him attempting to block his way to the basket, was one of the things the Mavs’ legend was truly excited about.
Dallas was up by a point (11-10) in the first quarter when Doncic drove to the hoop past Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday who both tried to stop him, but failed. The Slovenian then scooped the ball in his left hand for a high layup that hit nothing but net, despite being fouled by the Pelicans’ rookie center Jaxson Hayes. Doncic then sank the bonus free throw to complete a three-point play.
“It’s Luka being Luka… I’m not surprised, what Luka does doesn’t surprise me anymore. It did last year, and in the early part of this year, but this guy’s fantastic, and he proves it every single night,” Harper said.
Later in the first quarter, Dwight Powell snatched a defensive rebound and passed the ball to Doncic who leisurely strode down the court before stopping for a pull-up three on the other end and draining it to lift the Mavs’ lead to nine, 27-18.
“Fantastic, I think he does such a good job of setting the tone for this team on the offensive end. Luka understands when to pass it, when to catch and shoot it, this time just getting to a spot and pulling up, but somebody has to set the tone, and he’s been that guy most of these games for the Dallas Mavericks this year,” said Harper.
The Mavericks will be looking for their sixth win in a row Sunday. The game against the Kings tips off at 7:00 pm EST (1:00 am CET Monday).