Saturday, April 13, 2024

Luka Doncic’s latest triple-double feat leaves him in a class of his own

With just over three minutes remaining on Saturday evening in Detroit, Simone Fontecchio came flying through the air for a put-back dunk attempt. The Italian forward couldn’t quite slam it home, however, and the loose ball dropped into the hands of Luka Doncic, forever cementing the latter’s place in NBA history. 

Doncic finished with 39 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Dallas Mavericks‘ 142-124 victory over the Detroit Pistons, and in doing so recorded his sixth consecutive 30-point triple-double. That is the longest such streak in NBA history, surpassing Russell Westbrook, who did it five times in a row during his 2017 MVP season. 

During this ridiculous hot streak, Doncic is averaging 36.3 points, 11 rebounds and 11.5 assists on 51.6% shooting from the field. For the season, he is now the league’s leading scorer at 34.7 points per game, and well on his way to winning his first scoring title. No other player is within even three points of Doncic. Furthermore, Doncic is third in assists at 9.8 per game, with both numbers registering as career-highs. 

The Pistons haven’t had many answers this season, and they certainly didn’t have one for Doncic, who did whatever he wanted for most of the night. In the second quarter, in particular, he made 7-of-8 shots in a six-minute stretch that gave the Mavericks control for good. 

But as well as Doncic scored, it was his passing that once again stood out. In the middle of the third quarter, Doncic came off a Daniel Gafford screen and worked his way into the lane. There, he was surrounded by four Pistons defenders, and seemed to be stuck until he suddenly whipped the ball behind his head to Derrick Jones Jr in the corner. Doncic didn’t even get an assist on the play, as Jones swung it to Kyrie Irving for a triple, but it was yet another example of his phenomenal vision. 

With the win, the Mavericks improved to 36-28 on the season, but remain stuck in eighth place in the Western Conference. They are 2.5 games behind the fifth-place New Orleans Pelicans and 2.5 games ahead of the 10th-place Golden State Warriors, so almost every scenario is still in play. 

The Mavericks could end up with a guaranteed playoff spot, but they could just as easily be forced to win two Play-In Tournament games just to get into the postseason. 

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