Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is on a historic tear. Can he continue this for the rest of the month as he approaches 40 points a game for January?
Luka Doncic’s Magnificient Night and Kyrie Irving Loses A Million Dollars
Doncic blew past his own franchise scoring record with last night’s performance and joined Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid as a player who has topped the 70-point mark this year. Doncic’s efforts tied Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson for the fourth-highest scoring output.
With 73 points tonight in Atlanta, Luka Dončić has:
– The most points in franchise history
– A new career-high
– One of 15 70-point games in NBA history
– Tied-fourth-most points scored in a game in NBA history
– The most points scored in a game this season pic.twitter.com/lgRxjeplJk
— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) January 27, 2024
Doncic scored 41 points in the first half, which broke Dirk Nowitzki‘s franchise record for most points in a half. He also became the first player to score 70-plus while shooting at least 75% from the field. He was 25 of 33 from the field, 8 of 13 from the 3-point line, and 15 of 16 from the free-throw line.
Doncic accomplished this feat despite the Atlanta Hawks’ best defensive efforts, according to guard Trae Young.
“He [Doncic] was hot, Young told Kevin Chouinard of Hawks.com. He was going. Shit, we were trying everything. We were trying to trap him. We started off with Jalen [Johnson] on him … Sometimes you just have to pick your poison.”
Trae Young, on Luka Doncic's 73-point night:
"He was hot. He was going. Shit, we were trying everything. We were trying to trap him. We started off with Jalen on him … Sometimes you just have to pick your poison." pic.twitter.com/FD1kkD5TbI
— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) January 27, 2024
Doncic also added 10 rebounds and seven assists. It was the 24-year-old’s 24th double-double of the season. Doncic now has scored 50-plus points for the seventh time in his career and the second time this year as he put up a 50-piece on Christmas Day against the Phoenix Suns.
Despite his scintillating performance, Doncic was more concerned about the Mavericks picking up the dub.
“We’ve been struggling lately. Mindset was [to] get a win. We played great.”
Dallas (25-20) snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory over Atlanta. It was the Mavericks’ third win in the past eight contests. The Mavs sit in eighth place in the Western Conference.
Dallas hosts Sacramento (25-18) tonight at 9:00 p.m. (ET). The Mavericks are 4-3 in the second half of back-to-back with a plus+3.6 scoring margin. The Kings defeated the Mavericks 129-113 in their first meeting as Doncic finished with 25 points on 7 of 19 shooting, 10 rebounds, and seven dimes.
Doncic, second in the league in scoring, has scored 30 or more points in seven straight games and 22 of his last 25 appearances. He is averaging 37.5 points, 9.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 9.1 rebounds while compiling a shooting slash line of .503/.370/.747.
While the 6-7 point guard averages a double-double for his career against the Kings and in the second of back-to-backs this year, he compiles fewer than 28 points in both cases,
Irving Is A Game Time Decision
Last night’s absence was Irving’s 18th of the season and second straight due to a strained thumb. It means Irving will miss out on a $1 million bonus in the three-year, $120 million contract he signed this summer because he won’t appear in 65 games.
Irving had a $1M bonus in his contract for playing in 65+ games this season.
He will fall short of reaching that incentive.
The bonus was deemed unlikely because Irving played 60 games in 2022-23. https://t.co/Hznkz1smXA
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 26, 2024
Irving is also in eligible end-of-season awards, per NBA new player rules.
Irving is considered a game-time decision tonight, as the Mavericks have yet to disclose their injury report. He was reportedly spotted with a soft removable splint on his hand during Friday’s morning shootaround. However, x-rays were negative.
Dallas is 10-8 without Irving this year.
Maxi Kleber is also a game-time decision after missing last night’s contest due to toe soreness. Kleber was initially considered probable against the Hawks before being downgraded. It is the same injury that cost Kleber to miss 35 games.
Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News noted that Kleber’s ongoing toe problem is a “significant consideration” for the front office with the trade deadline set for February 8.
Kleber’s ongoing toe issue certainly is a significant consideration with the Feb. 8 trade deadline in less than 2 weeks. https://t.co/NFmkmxF0J9
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) January 26, 2024
Dwight Powell and Derrick Jones Jr. are also listed as GTD. Powell has missed the past two games with an eye injury, while Jones suffered a left wrist sprain during Friday’s game and didn’t return. Jones was injured as he tried to pull off a poster dunk but landed hard on his wrist.
While the severity of Jones’ injury is unknown, it would be a shocker if he played tonight.