Every single time Luka Doncic plays basketball, there’s a strong chance that something amazing might happen. Whether it’s one highlight play, or yet another example of him setting some record you didn’t know existed before that night, more often than not, you’re not going to want to miss it.
Last night, the Dallas Mavericks hosted the New York Knicks, in a match between teams with identical records. Both teams were 18-16, looking to see who could get to 19 wins, and who would fall back within one game of .500.
Early in the night it looked like things might be going Dallas’ way, as the Knicks were without the Mavericks former star Jalen Brunson. In an unfortunate turn of events, their third-leading scorer RJ Barrett suffered an injury in the opening minutes and wouldn’t be able to return during the game.
Now without two of their three leading scorers, you’d think the Mavericks would have a clear advantage, but that was not the case. Dallas trailed for the entire game and with just four minutes to go, a solid portion of the fans had already made their way to the exits.
I have been very fortunate to have credentials with the Dallas Mavericks, having the ability to go to all the games. Last night, I was there for another reason, because my gracious broadcast partner Grayson McClure invited me to go with him to the game. (Again, shoutout to Grayson, you can watch us call Sulphur Springs Wildcats games on Chad’s Media and Front Porch News)
In much nicer seats than I’m used to (I mean zero offense to the press box, I will gladly continue to sit up there as long as the Mavericks will let me) we were surprised to see that about half of our section mates in Section102 had left the game early. That being said, Dallas did trail 104-95 with 4:01 left to go and traffic after games is almost unbearable at times.
We clearly stayed though, for numerous reasons. 1. Grayson and I are fortunate enough to call games for Chad’s Media, and we’d have stayed no matter what the score was. But even more so, because on any given night, Luka Doncic might do something incredible.
As a diehard Mavericks fan, it’s well ingrained in my head that the franchise record for points in a game is 53, set by the man that my future children will be named after (shoutout to hypothetical future Dirk Lennon). Despite the fact the Mavericks trailed, Doncic crept closer and closer to the record, though he still had a ways’ to go, and so did the Mavericks. As the game reached the final minute, Luka and the Mavericks found themselves down 112-103 with just 26.3 seconds left.
In the last 20 years of the NBA, 13,884 times has a team trailed by nine or more points with 35 or fewer seconds. In the last 20 years of the NBA, those teams had a combined record of 0-13,884 in those instances.
Only Luka could change that. The Mavericks continued to chip away, as Christian Wood drilled a 3-pointer to make it a six-point game with 26.1 seconds left.
A Spencer Dinwiddie 3-pointer with 9.1 seconds left would make it a one-point game, but Dallas would still have to foul the Knicks at least one more time. New York’s Miles McBride would make both of his free throws, giving them yet another three-point lead.
With just four seconds on the clock, New York would foul Doncic, which was the smart thing to do, disabling him from attempting a three-pointer to tie it. Doncic made his first free throw, making it a two-point game, and forcing him to attempt something that very rarely works.
Doncic shot the ball hard at the back of the rim, hoping that he or a teammate could get the offensive rebound. The ball floated around, trading hands from one player to another, before Doncic was able to grab the ball and throw it back up, getting it to fall and sending the game to overtime, as well as tying the franchise record for points in a single-game.
In overtime, Doncic continued to be incredible, surpassing Dirk’s record in the opening minute with a free throw. He would go on to lead the Mavericks to a win, and finishing with a stat line that the game has never seen.
In last night’s game, Doncic set a number of records, whether it be personal, franchise or NBA. Let’s run through some of them.
As we mentioned, Doncic set the franchise record for points in a game at 60. He also tied the franchise record for FGM at 21. He set a new American Airlines Center scoring record, surpassing Steph Curry who had 57.
As we mentioned, he recorded the first 60-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist game in NBA history, and recorded the second ever 60-point triple-double in league history.
Doncic also became the first Maverick with 50+ points twice in a three-game span, and became the sixth player in NBA history to record six or more 40-point triple-doubles. He quite literally set or tied 11 records last night. All in a night’s work for the 23-year-old. Did we mention he’s only 23 years old?
Last night was a night for celebration. Doncic even said so himself, saying “I’m tired as hell. I need a recovery beer,” in his postgame interview.
What we saw from Doncic last night was nothing short of spectacular. He not only scored 10 points in the final minute to lead the most unlikeable comeback of the 21st century, but also broke record after record while doing so.
I know this isn’t the time to be negative. But I think there’s one part in this story that we aren’t paying enough attention to.
It took, one of the most spectacular single-game performances in league history, to lead one of the most spectacular comebacks in league history, to get an overtime win against a now 18-17 Knick team, who as we mentioned, was missing two of their three leading scorers.
Doncic was helped out by Dinwiddie, who had 25 points on 9-15 shooting. He was also helped out by Wood, who had 19 points and nine rebounds. Wood has been a huge help as he’s seen more time with Doncic, averaging 25.3 points per game on 58.7% shooting over his last four home games.
The obvious hope, is that coach Jason Kidd continues to play Wood and Doncic together more and more. Of course, Wood is currently eligible for a contract extension and fans are greatly hoping he gets one.
The problem is, it shouldn’t take the first ever 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double in league history, to pull off the greatest comeback in league history against a depleted Knicks team.
Doncic has proved himself as one of the most talented players walking the Earth, and somehow he’s only getting more and more impressive. Over the last three games, Doncic is averaging 47.3 points per game on 61% shooting, along with 12.7 rebounds and 9.7 assists.
I know I sound like a miserable person, and not like somebody who got to witness one of the greatest performances in the history of the NBA. Believe me, I am very grateful I got to be there and witness that in person.
His spectacular performances aren’t going anywhere. Every single time Doncic plays basketball, the very real possibility that he’s going to do something amazing is still going to ring true.
A fans, all we can hope, is that it won’t continue to take record-breaking performances, for this team to continue to win games.