In a battle of two of the NBA’s biggest superstars, it was Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks who came out on top over Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors in a 116-113 win on Wednesday afternoon.
Doncic made an MVP statement in the win, scoring 41 points to go with 12 assists, 12 rebounds, four steals and one block.
With it, Doncic became the sixth player in NBA history to record five or more 40-point triple-doubles and the scary part is that he is only 23 years old.
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“At 34 years old, we’re seeing stuff that Steph’s doing that has never been done in his career and again right now at 23 years young [Doncic is] putting the team on his back,” Candace Parker said in commentary.
“Obviously very high usage for Luka but at the end of the day the amount of minutes he’s carrying night in, night out and doing it at this rate with the ball in his hands for as much as he does, it’s unbelievable.”
“I think right now he’s the best all-round offensive player in the game with his ability to get his own shot, to score from anywhere on the court and create for others,” added Stan Van Gundy.
“They have not won a game this year where Luka hasn’t scored 30 points, they are 0-5. That puts a lot of pressure on Doncic to produce.”
Luka Doncic put on a show. (Photo by TOM PENNINGTON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
For what it is worth, the Mavericks officially made a move on Wednesday to address that concern, signing four-time All-Star Kemba Walker to add an extra option to the backcourt.
Tim Hardaway Jr. helped lighten the load on the offensive end with 22 points for the Mavericks while Spencer Dinwiddie had 14 before getting ejected.
Curry, meanwhile, led the way for the Warriors with 32 points, five assists and five rebounds in the loss.
The Mavericks made a fast start at American Airlines Center, jumping out to a 23-6 lead as turnovers proved costly for the Warriors early.
Doncic was heavily involved on both sides of the ball, with three defensive rebounds to go with two assists and three points as Dallas went up by 17 after eight minutes.
Australian Josh Green, who finished the game with 13 points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal off the bench, also hit an early 3-point jumper as he continues to prove himself a much-improved shooter.
He also had a perfect spin pass for Davis Bertans to hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr called an early timeout after that 23-6 opening from Dallas and got an immediate response as the Warriors scored the next five points of the game.
Finding a way to shut down Doncic though was going to be key to stopping Dallas from continuing to pile on the points and that, of course, is easier said than done.
Doncic went on to score eight of the Mavericks’ next 13 points to close the quarter, although Golden State ended the period on a 7-2 run to close the gap to 36-24.
Still, it was a dominant opening from Dallas and sloppy start for Golden State, who turned the ball over six times in the first quarter while also committing seven fouls.
While Golden State’s bench has been an issue for the majority of the season, its second unit was a strength on Wednesday as Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga added a few crucial buckets to open the second quarter.
Curry then came back into the game in the second half of the quarter and kept up the momentum, seeing Golden State go into halftime only trailing 55-54.
Kuminga was a big reason for that, putting in one of his best performances of the season off the bench with eight points, five rebounds and an assist in the first half.
His defence in particular had also helped keep Golden State in the game as Klay Thompson (0 points), Andrew Wiggins (two points) and Jordan Poole (three points) struggled.
Wiggins started to catch fire late in the third quarter with six points in the space of one minute while Curry added 10 points, but still the Mavericks held a 92-87 lead.
That lead though suddenly disappeared when Dinwiddie, who entered the game for Doncic to start the fourth quarter, was ejected for a Flagrant-2 foul on Poole.
With Dinwiddie gone and Doncic still not back on the court, the Warriors took full advantage to jump out to a 100-96 lead.
Green though came up with two key defensive plays on Poole to help inspire a Dallas fightback, with Van Gundy full of praise for the Australian’s hustle.
“Josh Green is giving Jordan Poole fits,” he said in commentary.
“He knocked the ball away from him twice on the same possession. Those are the kind of plays that inspire your teammates as you’re trying to come back from four down.”
Josh Green continues to improve. (Photo by TOM PENNINGTON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
It did just that as Doncic’s return to the court saw the Mavericks retake the lead, going up 103-100 with seven minutes left in the quarter.
The lead continued to change heading into the dying stages of the minutes, with both Curry and Doncic standing tall when their teams needed them most.
Green also came up big in both defence and offence, hitting a 3-point jumper and then driving through contact to the basket with a strong finish to put the Mavs up 113-110 late.
In the end Dallas would hold on for a 116-113 win, although Thompson had a chance to send it to overtime in the final seconds of the game but missed.