Quite a night for Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks at home against the San Antonio Spurs last night, with his sixth triple-double of the season leading the Dallas Mavericks past the San Antonio Spurs 117-110.
The second-year player from Slovenia joined LeBron James as the only players to achieve a 40-point triple-double before the age of 21.
The sportsbooks in the legalized U.S. Sports Gambling Industry reacted quickly, with DraftKingsSportsbook dropping Doncic down to 12-1, while FanDuel Sportsbook had their numbers locked Tuesday morning.
"It feels like every day there are stats you don't know about, stats that you read about," Doncic said. "It's great to hit."
Doncic, 20, is averaging 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists, and with the addition of someone else who could hit a jump shot (Tim Hardaway was 0-for-5, and Seth Curry got off only six shots, making three), Doncic could join Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double over the course of an entire regular season.
A number of NBA trade restrictions expire on Dec. 15, and there has not been a deal made yet this season.
Here is a nice anecdote from Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning news: “In the hallway between the team’s back-door entrance and San Antonio’s locker room, the Spurs’ coach walked underneath a banner of Dirk Nowitzki, mid-shot, hanging from the ceiling. “I thought I was done with this guy,” Popovich thought. “Do I have to look at him again before the game starts?” His next unpleasant encounter came hours later.
Doncic’s 42 points were a career-high.
“It’s not surprising to me,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Doncic. “This guy can do anything he wants to on a basketball court. “And you know, he’s having just one of those magical runs right now, and it’s a phenomenal thing to watch. It’s a phenomenal thing to be a part of. His teammates, we’re all just kind of along for the ride.”
Doncic powered the Mavericks with a 17-point, four-rebound, four-assist burst in the first quarter. Then 24 points by halftime.
Then a clutch 29-foot step-back 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left to fend off the Spurs’ late comeback attempt.
Should we be surprised by the breakout success of the reigning Rookie of the Year?
The third overall pick of the 2018 draft, Doncic was coming off a season in which he was the Euroleague MVP for Real Madrid.
Interestingly, the two players taken ahead of him, DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley, are currently not playing. Bagley, of the Sacramento Kings, is sidelined with a broken right thumb, and Ayton, of the Phoenix Suns, is serving a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy.
Our next look at Doncic comes Wednesday night in an ESPN game against the lowly Golden State Warriors, and do not be surprised if more of his games are moved onto national television, as Turner Sports and ESPN have the right to do that under their national television contracts.
Back to the gambling market:
Giannis Antetokounmpo remains the wagering favorite, followed in no particular order by James Harden, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
More clarity in that race will come by the time we reach the quarterpole of the NBA season, but for now the one player who is rising faster than anyone else is the kid from Slovenia who will not turn 21 until Feb. 28.