Luka Doncic responds to Gregg Popovich's pregame claim with another scoring start in Mavericks' win over Spurs -

Luka Doncic responds to Gregg Popovich's pregame claim with another scoring start in Mavericks' win over Spurs -

Updated: 1 month, 6 days, 11 hours, 46 minutes, 8 seconds ago

“We’re going to keep Luka under 50. Quote him.”

Gregg Popovich jokingly revealed his plan to keep Luka Doncic from heading to Saturday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, and came up short as Doncic continued his ridiculous scoring streak, scoring 51 points in the Mavs’ 126-125 win at Saint Anthony.

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Doncic, who finished with 51 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals, has now scored 50-plus points in three of his last five games, with his latest effort extending his lead atop the all-time list of the Mavericks. for 50-point games, with his fourth of his career and third of the season.

Asked if he saw Popovich’s pregame claim, Doncic replied: “Yeah, I saw it … I just wanted to get a win.”

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And win they did.

Just like he did a couple of days ago against the New York Knicks, Doncic used the free throw line to put his team on top.

After burying two clutch free throws with 4.5 seconds left, giving the Mavs a three-point lead, he froze the game at the line, this time missing both.

With 1.5 seconds remaining and the Mavs leading by one point, Doncic missed the first free throw, before deliberately missing the second and grabbing the rebound, before dribbling the clock.

@luka7doncic Second free kick intentionally missed to win the game 🤑 pic.twitter.com/YceBSC3NEc

—Mason Granger (@mason1992) January 1, 2023

Following tonight’s performance, Doncic became the eighth player in NBA history to lose three or more 50-point games in a season before the age of 25, joining LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rick Barry, Nate Archibald, and Wilt Chamberlain by @NBAHistory.

He is also the first player in NBA history to total 225+ points, 50+ rebounds, and 50+ assists in a five-game span, with the Mavs now unbeaten in their last six games.

“It’s unbelievable,” Mavericks teammate Christan Wood said of Doncic’s recent run.

“In my seven years in the league, I’ve never seen anyone do what he can do.

“He just has to keep it up, he’s on an incredible run, he’s playing like an MVP, clearly one of the best players in the league. [I’m] happy for him.”

Luka is averaging a triple-double of 11/45/10 in his last 5 games.

🤯 pic.twitter.com/UwxxVaALsD

—NBA (@NBA) January 1, 2023

Doncic’s streak has kept the Mavs on track as they battle a handful of injuries to key players, including Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Green, JaVale McGee and Maxi Kleber, and while his on-court exploits have been unmissable on TV, head coach Jason Kidd is aware of the workload placed on the 23-year-old star.

“We are a bit on the injured side at the moment, but we have to get a little more out of our bench. But our bench is being occupied by Luka”, he said after the game.

“We can’t expect him to be 50 every night.

“…Keeping the streak going and we keep the excitement at a safe high level late in the game,” Kidd said. “A couple of bugs we can fix. But it is not easy to win here. Luke was amazing. He rescues us again.”

The Mavs have now won six straight and moved up to fourth in the Western Conference standings at 21-16, with Doncic closing out 2022 in style.