Tuesday’s fight against the New York Knicks included a historic NBA finish from Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic. After a dramatic extra period, the Mavericks defeated the Knicks 126-121, giving Doncic his best game of the season.
It is the first time in NBA history that a player has recorded 60 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists in a single game. Doncic also set career highs in both categories. With only 33 seconds left, the 23-year-old helped his club overcome a nine-point deficit.
The NBA claims this is the first time in 20 seasons that a team overcame a nine-point deficit with less than 30 seconds remaining and won the game. Except for the Mavericks, 13,884 NBA teams have not accomplished this feat since then, according to the NBA, and Doncic is in the forefront of this historic record.
Doncic purposefully missed a free shot and secured a rebound on the last Mavericks play. The Knicks game went into overtime after he made the shot. Doncic scored 10 points in the waning seconds of regulation time and seven more in the extra period.
With his achievement, the Slovenian basketball sensation joined the likes of James Harden, the only NBA player in history to record a triple-double of 60 points. Along with Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, Doncic is one of just six players who have had at least six 40-point triple-doubles.
“We just saw it on the screen right now. We were watching NBA TV. I mean, it’s just incredible to be in those comparisons and just to be with those guys, at any stage. It’s amazing for me,” Doncic said.
Doncic is setting the bar for the Mavericks
A new Mavericks franchise record was set by Doncic during the game, surpassing Dirk Nowitzki’s 53 points against the Rockets in 2004. With their victory, the Mavericks improved to 19-16 on the season, enough for sixth place in the Western Conference. After losing four in a row, the New York Knicks dropped to sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
“Just with age, he has a birthday coming up here in the new year. I think he’s seen it all at the age of 23. But just his competitiveness to win is at a very high level – and you saw that displayed tonight,” said Jason Kidd, head coach of the Mavericks.
“Things weren’t going well. Give the Knicks credit; they were making a lot of threes that we didn’t think were possible. They were playing harder. We were down 10. We’ve been in this position earlier in the season when you talk about giving up a lead or giving up a game like this.”
“Just to be able to stay together and trust, Luka had a big part in that. He never was discouraged that the game was over. As you can see, he’s picking up full-court, we had a big jump ball. There’s a lot of things we’ve learned from our losses in close games like this.”
Reaction from other players
The 23-year-game-winning old’s performance stunned the basketball world and won him acclaim from other basketball greats. Basketball great from the past and present has expressed admiration for a young player’s energy on the floor. His 60 points, a club record, are the most ever scored in an NBA game. Doncic made 21 of 31 field goals and 16 of 22 free throws.
“OMG, Luka! 60, 21, and 10. Never seen these numbers in my lifetime, may never again wilt like a video game, like damn,” wrote Paul Pierce on Twitter.
“60/20/10?? Este tio no es normal,” added Kristaps Porzingis.
“Luka just having fun! The game ez,” wrote Trae Young.
“This dud Luka!” said DeMar DeRozan.
“We are watching greatness @luka7doncic. I’ve never seen anything like that ever,” said Mark Cuban.
“If we judging by tonight, it’s Luka Doncic my a mile; then it’s everybody else! I know he said it’s easy for him to get numbers in the NBA. But damn, 60-21-10?! God Bless America. Carry the hell on,” added Kendrick Perkins.
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Luka under a lens
Slovenian native Luka Doncic, born on February 28, 1999, hails from Ljubljana. Sasha Doncic, his father, was a professional basketball player in Slovenia. Radoslav Nesterovic, his godfather, played in the NBA for 12 seasons and finally won a championship in 2005 with the San Antonio Spurs.
Luka began participating in Olimpija squads when he was eight and began playing basketball. He had to compete in competitions for children under 12 since he was too young to play with more prominent players. Luka was just 13 years old when Real Madrid signed him. He remained with the squad for five years and rose to prominence in basketball.
“Dončić moved up to Real Madrid’s under-18 team and reserve team. He continued to shine, winning the MVP award at the under-18 Next Generation Tournament and claiming a championship. At 16 years, two months and two days of age, he made his professional debut, becoming the youngest player to ever play for Real Madrid,” writes the Maverick’s profile page for Luka.
“Luka has earned back-to-back All-NBA First Team honors, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to accomplish the feat. He was voted as a starter in both the 2020 and 2021 All-Star Games,” it continued.
Photo Credit: LM Otero