Dallas Mavericks MVP candidate Luka Doncic tied his career-high of 42 points against the Phoenix Suns on Friday while leading his team to a 120-113 victory. For good measure, Doncic tacked on 11 assists and nine rebounds in the win.
After the game, Doncic talked about the physicality of the Suns and what he learned about his team on Friday.
“I think we did a great job, especially in the second half,” Doncic told Fox Sports Southwest’s Mark Followill after the game. “It was three-25 quarters that they had, so we had to get back on defense, and I would say a great second half.”
“I missed a lot of threes – I have to fix that, but especially get in the paint, kick-outs, layups that is what I have to realize, and take fewer threes,” said Doncic.
Tim Hardaway pitched in with 26 points and three rebounds in 36 minutes as a starter, and since joining the first five, he has provided some much-needed scoring for the Mavericks.
“He has been great, not just from when he started. He has been great since the beginning of the season. His work is something you can see in the statistics, and Dodo [Dorian Finney-Smith] did a great job on [Devin] Booker. He is a tough matchup, and he is an amazing player, and tough to stop, but as a team, we are good on defense,” said Doncic.
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Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Weighs-in on Luka Doncic
Earlier this week, Mark Cuban was on the LIVE Kelly and Ryan show and shared that he believes Doncic is already one of the five best players in the NBA, even at the age of 20.
Earlier this month, Cuban was interviewed by Fanatics View and talked about Doncic’s progression from his rookie season to sophomore year in the NBA.
“I think he understands the game much better, time, and places much better and what is needed. He also understands his teammates, and where the opposing team is going to defend him better, but he is not all the way there, and he is more discipline, said Cuban. “He is not looking to get on a hot streak to try to take over a game. he is looking to try to win the game.”
NBA Analyst on Luka Doncic’s Progression From Rookie Season
“Luka ‘triple-double’ Doncic – I called him ‘Triple Doncic.’ He hasn’t even started playing basketball yet, I mean he is just a kid in a candy store. He is so poised even in crucial situations, and I don’t know if he understands that he is in a crucial situation or it’ss nothing to him. I’ve been here before or done this before, and I think its the latter,” said Ceballos.
“I love the fact Mark Cuban was getting razzed about the comments he made that Americans need to go overseas and learn how to play basketball. And he is a prime example.”
Ceballos is right; it is the latter. Two months ago, Doncic told me that he enjoys the pressure, and it is something he has endured since the age of 16. These comments came after asking him about NBA legend Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving’s assessment that he was the perfect replacement for Dirk Nowitzki.
“I had pressure since I was 16. So, I like pressure, but Dirk is Dirk. He has been here for over 21 years, he won everything. It’s hard to replace Dirk for sure,” Doncic told me.