It's no secret the Dallas Mavericks rely on Luka Doncic heavily to pull out wins on a nightly basis. He leads the league in scoring so far this season (33.5 points per game), is second in usage rate (37.1 percent) and the Mavericks' success is determined by his nightly performance.
Tuesday night was no exception, as Doncic lifted Dallas to a 116-113 win over the Golden State Warriors in which he posted 41 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds, marking his third 40-point triple-double of the season.
After the game, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd lauded his All-NBA guard, while also throwing in a joke to show just how commonplace Doncic's outstanding feats have become.
"Yeah it's getting boring," Kidd joked after the game about Doncic's 41-point triple-double. "I mean, let's see something different. Do something -- maybe do it with his left hand. I'm just joking. Look, he's one of the best in the world. That's what he does. I've said this earlier, some of us in this room can take him for granted. The man is special. The guy loves competition, and when you have a triple-double like that it's not easy."
While Doncic's monstrous performances have become nearly a nightly occurrence for the Mavericks, that doesn't make his latest effort any less impressive. His 41 points against the Warriors marked the 20th time in Doncic's career that he's amassed 40-plus points,. The fact that Doncic is knocking down records held by franchise greats like Nowitzki at just 24 years of age is just a testament to his greatness. He now sits just two 40-point games behind Mark Aguirre (22), a milestone he's certainly capable of reaching this season.
Doncic's performance against the Warriors also happened to be one of his more efficient games this season. He shot nearly 52 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from deep on nine attempts. Then there's the rebounding and passing, both areas of his game that make him so unique as a guard. Doncic's court vision and ability to fit the ball through the tiniest of windows, or just creating a window out of thin air is never not mesmerizing, and Tuesday night's game certainly had some gems.
Just look at this no-look assist he delivers to Maxi Kleber down under the rim. The Warriors did the right thing in collapsing on Doncic as he steps inside the paint since he had been killing them from there all night. But it didn't matter, he shirks off the three Golden State defenders in front of him and drops a perfectly placed bounce pass to Kleber who had great positioning on JaMychal Green for the dunk.
What's demoralizing about Doncic's game as a defender is even in crunch time he's still making wild passes, and they work. With the Warriors up 104-103 and just four minutes left in the game, Doncic whips this corner pass out to Josh Green, who nails the 3-pointer. Nevermind the obvious amount of traffic this ball had to go through before getting to Green, but Doncic put it just out of reach over any Warriors defender and it landed perfectly in Green's pocket:
The passing was an appetizing side, but the scoring was the main entree for Doncic, and he capitalized off mismatches and an undersized Warriors team all night. He operated with ease from mid-range and around the basket, utilizing his size and strength to discard defenders like Klay Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga.
"His size and his ball-handling skills keep you on edge the whole game," Stephen Curry said of Doncic's performance after the game. "That, plus being a three-level scorer, you have to worry about everything. He can get the step-back 3s going so you have to press into him. He is shifty and has a great handle so he can use his leverage to get by you. Obviously, his court vision is unreal. He is kind of the offensive package of just being a playmaker and scorer. When he is knocking down shots like he did tonight, he is tough. You want to take something away from him, but he kept making play after play, and even a couple defensive plays on the other side -- a couple of steals and a strip on me. He is playing at an extremely high level and is getting better every year."
While Curry complimented the whole arsenal of Doncic's game, pointing out his defensive play shows how the Mavericks guard is making strides on that end of the floor. In fact, when Doncic was asked what his favorite stat from his performance was, it wasn't the scoring, passing or rebounding, but instead the four steals he came up with over the game.
"I just participated, giving everything I got. I was really tired at the end," Doncic said. "But we needed this game, we needed this win. I think we deserve this win, and we for sure needed this win."
Doncic isn't wrong, the Mavericks certainly needed that victory after dropping the previous four straight going into that matchup against the Warriors. Even the win over Golden State could've easily been a loss if Curry hasn't been called for a travel on what would've been a clean look at a 3-pointer, and ifof regulation that could've sent the game to overtime. But the Mavericks pulled out a win and climb back to .500 on the season (10-10).