In the last game before the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, Luka Doncic from the Dallas Mavs put on a scoring clinic against the New Orleans Pelicans with 49 points, including seven 3-pointers.
The Mavs jumped out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter thanks to 19 points from Doncic, and they never looked back.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Doncic tallied 49 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists.
“Luka set the tone early and often,” said Mavs coach Jason Kidd. “We can sit here and talk about him all day. The things that he does on the court for himself and his teammates is incredible.”
Heading into the All-Star Break, Doncic averages 27.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game. His PER rating of 24.38 is ranked #11 in the NBA. After a slow start due to poor conditioning, Doncic emerged as the league’s fifth-best assist man, and the sixth-best leading scorer.
Luka: 49 Points in NOLA
Doncic came out of the locker room at halftime all fired up. He scored 20 points in the third quarter to help the Mavs open up a 20-point edge. At first, the crowd at the Smoothie King Center were openly hostile to Doncic, but the Slovenian wunderkind won them over.
“Sometimes it’s different when you’re playing away games,” said Doncic. “First they’re booing and then they’re like, amazed.”
“We’ve used every noun and adjective to describe his game,” said Kidd. “He just gets better.”
Doncic spoiled a 38-point performance from CJ McCollum, who unleashed 18 points in the fourth quarter to inspire a comeback, which fell short of the mark.
In his last four games with the Pelicans, McCollum scored at least 30 points. He’s quickly found his groove since the Portland Trail Blazers traded him last week.
Surging Sans Unicorn
With 49 points against the Pelicans, it marked a third 40-plus point performance from Doncic in the last four games since the Mavs traded away Kristaps ‘Unicorn’ Porzingis. In the last week, Doncic erupted for a career-high 51 points and 45 points against the LA Clippers, and dropped another 49 points against the Pelicans.
Since the Porzingis trade, Doncic averaged 41.5 ppg and knocked down 22 3-pointers. Whether it’s a statement, or not… it’s up to you to decide. Doncic is certainly flourishing without the Unicorn and the Mavs are 3-1 since the trade.
Over the last 10 games, Doncic almost nearly averages a triple-double with 35.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game. He’s shooting 48.8% from the floor, and 43.3% from downtown.
The Mavs (35-24) hold down the #5 seed in the Western Conference, but they’re 13.5 games out of first place behind the Phoenix Suns, who are running away with the #1 seed. The Mavs could ladder up and catch the Utah Jazz, who only hold a 1.5-game lead over the Mavs.
According to a recent update by the South Point in Las Vegas, the Mavs are +4000 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship.
Luka since Porzingis got traded:
41.5 PPG (1st in NBA)
22 3PM (1st in NBA) pic.twitter.com/4unH81kt5o
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 18, 2022
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