Luka Doncic did not average 40 points in a four-game stretch, despite all the buzzer-beaters, triple-doubles and All-Star Game trips over four seasons. This was until the last quartet before the break.
These games were also the first since Doncic’s European partnership with Kristaps Porzingis was ended. It never developed in the way that the Dallas Mavericks had hoped.
It’s not that Doncic, the Slovenian superstar, was not the main focus. But the timing of Doncic’s 41.5-point-per game outburst which included Doncic’s 50th point effort made it clear.
Their point guard must be the best if the Mavericks are to make it past the first round in the playoffs, which will be their first since they won the franchise’s first championship 11 years ago.
Jason Kidd, a point guard who was part of a team led by Dirk Nowitzki in 2011, knows the game better than anyone.
Kidd, the Dallas coach for the first time, stated that Luke is a player who can carry the load for four games and most of the season. “He’s not only playing at an All-Star level, but also at MVP level right now. That’s what we need going forward into the second half.”
Friday night’s Mavericks break at Utah will see them return to action. Utah is currently the fourth seed in Western Conference, one spot ahead Dallas. Denver is currently the third team in the mix for the final spot. Denver has home-court advantage in round one, something the Mavericks haven’t had since they won the title.
Just hours after Porzingis was traded to Washington in a deal which brought Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans and other players, Doncic scored 28 in the first quarter in a 112-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He ended the game with a career-high 51 points.
Doncic scored 23 points of his 45 in the fourth quarter in a loss to New Orleans 99-97, which was the only loss in the four-game series. After missing two free throws, he had 49 points in victory over New Orleans.
Doncic said, “It wasn’t just games.” He was busy shooting from 3-point range for the four games, scoring 22 of 48 points. “I know everyone says it was after the trade. After something. It was just games. Sometimes you feel great, and sometimes you don’t. I just felt good.”
Coach Tyronn Lue and the Clippers prefer Doncic to be a scorer, as they believe he is more dangerous when he distributes.
In fact, Doncic was the franchise leader in triple doubles just before the scoring explosion started. He had four of them in a six-game stretch. Doncic was forced to continue scoring, as the game was still close. The 51-point night ended a streak of seven consecutive double-digit assists that had been a career record.
Doncic is sixth in scoring in the NBA (27.5 points per match) and fifth in assists (9.0).
Marquese Chriss, who was once an antagonist to Doncic in Golden State, became Marquese’s teammate when the Dallas roster was decimated due to a COVID-19 epidemic.
Chriss stated, “Some people score but can’t get away with the offense and have their teammates be themselves.” “I felt like everyone was able to participate in the games.
The Mavericks now stand at 18-6 after Doncic’s return from a 10-game absence due to ankle and knee injuries, and a positive COVID-19-test. The surge is also a huge part of defense and star guard.
Doncic had been criticized for his weight and conditioning before the time away. He admitted that he was too relaxed after helping Slovenia qualify to host its first Olympics and make it to the semifinals. Then, he lost twice at the Tokyo Games. Doncic was not elected to the All-Star team for the third time in succession.
In an interview on local radio station Mark Cuban, the owner said that he felt a bit humbled. “I believe he didn’t like being called out on his weight and other matters, and it finally clicked with him that there’s a certain level of discipline required.”
Doncic’s latest scoring spree is his run in 2020 playoffs. His buzzer-beater in Game 4 against Los Angeles Clippers was the talk in the playoff bubble. Doncic scored two 40-point games, and just missed a fourth in a six game loss in his postseason debut.
As the Mavericks establish a new ranking among scorers without Porzingis, Doncic won’t be able to maintain the 40-point pace. After missing at most two months due to a broken left foot, Tim Hardaway Jr., the shooting guard, should be back for the playoffs.
Forward-center Dwight Powell stated, “When you have a guy who can break down defense so efficiently you’ve gotta be ready for knock down shots, to cut, to balance the floor offensively in different situations.” “At the end, we’re trying find ways that we can support each other regardless who is having it going and find ways that to win.”
The Mavericks are able to predict who will be having it most nights.