Luka Doncic Spearheaded A Win Over The Bucks Thanks To A Triple-Double With 19 Assists

Man, Luka Doncic is really good at basketball, isn’t he? Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks took on the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks in the final game of Saturday night’s slate in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. Despite a fully-healthy Bucks squad, double-doubles by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, and a huge evening from Brook Lopez, Dallas was able to gut out a 136-132 win in overtime.

The main reason why was the play of Doncic, who had perhaps the best game of his NBA career. The 21-year-old Slovenian standout scored 36 points on 12-for-24 shooting with a career-high 19 assists and 14 rebounds. It marked his 17th triple-double of the season, the most in the league this year, and he became the third Maverick to have at least 19 assists in a game, joining two other dudes who were quite good at passing the basketball.

The thing that is oftentimes so impressive about Doncic is the total control he is able to exert on games when he’s at his best. Everything happened at the pace he dictated, something that is oftentimes the case when the Mavericks win. He especially turned heads with his final assist of the evening — Doncic came off of a screen set by Maxi Kleber, who immediately dove to the rim.

With Antetokounmpo’s eyes locked on Doncic, the reigning Rookie of the Year laid off a cheeky between the legs pass to his big man, who dunked, made his way to the free throw line, and put the exclamation point on Dallas’ win.

Doncic was asked about the assist after the game, and like many great passers, he did not have a logical answer for why he made this happen. Instead, he gave an answer to gets to the heart of what makes him so good at setting up his teammates: he was able to immediately process what was happening and trusted his otherworldly instincts.

The performance was big for the Mavericks insofar as they have a chance to make a move up the Western Conference, although that is a bit unlikely. Currently locked in seventh, Dallas is two games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in fifth and the Utah Jazz in sixth, and while their next game is against Utah, it would take quite a bit for them to make up that gap.

What made it a big performance, though, was it highlighted how when Doncic is at his best, Dallas is going to have a chance in any game it plays, even if it’s against the best team in the NBA. Perhaps this is something that matters more down the road — when Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are a little older, and the franchise maybe adds a third star alongside them, and the top of the Western Conference isn’t as cluttered — but right now, the Mavericks are a dangerous group, thanks in large part to their All-Star guard.

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