LOS ANGELES – Luka Doncic’s became just the 10th player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history with three 40-point triple-doubles as he propelled the Dallas Mavericks to a 129-125 overtime triumph over the Nets in Brooklyn on Thursday.
The Slovenian star’s big night, which featured 41 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists – including a sumptuous no-look overhead pass for Maxi Kleber – saw the Mavs come out on top in a furious back-and-forth battle. Doncic also made 11 of 13 free-throw attempts and came up with three steals.
Nets coach Steve Nash was quoted by ESPN as saying: “He (Doncic) makes others better. He makes his teammates better. He makes plays for others – 14 assists, not to mention all the times he probably gets the hockey assist, so he puts an incredible amount of pressure (on teams).
“All they do over and over again is him in pick-and-roll, get a match-up and make a play, and that’s a lot of responsibility for him and he handles it almost every night.”
As an NBA All-Star and Dallas’ franchise player, the responsibility falls on the 23-year-old guard in clutch moments, but he showed that he trusts his teammates as well.
In the dying seconds of regulation time, with the scores tied, and the pressure on him to take a potentially game-winning shot, he recognised that with the Nets defence closing on him that a wide-open Reggie Bullock was a better option.
Bullock missed but Doncic’s faith in his teammates never wavered as he set up three-point shots for Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kleber in overtime.
He scored or assisted Dallas’ first 15 points of overtime as the Mavs (2-2) lead by as many as nine points and handed the Nets their second defeat in as many nights.
‘’Obviously, Luka is probably the best guy to make tough shots and make shots when they count, but he also knows when to make the right basketball plays,’‘ Kleber said.
‘‘And especially when we came into overtime, they were like really aggressive with him and he made the right play, I don’t know, three or four times in a row. We just got hot and made all those shots.’‘
Hardaway Jr added: ‘’We’re just trying to do the best we can to make his job a lot easier out there on the floor when he gives the ball up, and the only way you can do that is knock down shots and take them with confidence and make a play.”
Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 39 points while Durant added 37 points. Brooklyn are now 1-4. ‘’I felt like we did some good things tonight but it just wasn’t good enough,’‘ Irving said.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry saved 10 of his game-high 33 points for the final 5:32 of the game on Thursday, propelling the Golden State Warriors to a 123-110 victory over the Miami Heat in San Francisco.
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