Luka Doncic has produced at historic levels for the Dallas Mavericks this season, and his production has improved as the season progressed. He finished December with 51 points against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs had a “goal” going into the matchup against the Mavs to protect Doncic. He had surpassed his 50 points in two recent games, so the idea was to keep him under the bold 50 mark for Saturday’s matchup.
“There will always be something in our lives that makes us think, ‘I can’t believe this happened. When asked about the -10 match, he replied:
“50 [points] Popovich jokingly told reporters. “We are detaining Luca under the age of 50. I will quote.”
In true Doncic fashion, he finished 51 in the Mavs’ 126-125 victory over the Spurs. From the floor he is 18-29 (62.1%), from 3-point range he is 6-10 (60.0%) and free when he shoots 6-10 (60.0%) on throws. I did. He became the first player to record at least 50 points and 9 assists without a single turnover.
After the end-of-game buzzer sounded, Popovich jokingly tried to avoid Doncic after his goal to retain the Mavericks superstar failed. Their respect for each other was evident.
Doncic seemed to be aware of Popovich’s comments based on how he interacted in midcourt after the final buzzer. When asked, did Doncic know that Popovich made a comment suggesting the “goal” was to keep him under 50 points?
“Yeah, I saw it. I just wanted to win,” Doncic said.
Popovich offered some of the best praise he’d heard from him when discussing the players before the game, describing the three-time All-NBA guard as “incredible” and calling him a “beautiful basketball player.” expressed.
“I can’t believe this guy,” said Popovich. “He’s just a beautiful basketball player. He’s kind of the archetype with his level of high basketball IQ and high skill. He’s very special, very special.”
Doncic has excelled in games against the Spurs during his NBA career. After his latest performance, he averaged 29.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.3 rebounds in his 15 games with San Antonio. His scoring average against the Spurs ranks him just ninth compared to his other average against all 29 of his teams.
The Mavs have a chance to extend their current winning streak to seven in a game against the Houston Rockets on Monday. Doing so would tie them to their longest winning streak since his 2010-11 season, when they won his first and only NBA title.
Want the latest breaking news and insider info on the Dallas Mavericks? Click here.
Follow DallasBasketball.com twitter and Facebook.