Doncic was truly brilliant, showing off his entire arsenal. He made 17-of-20 two point shots, 8-of-13 three’s, and 15-of-16 free throws. He was a total of 25-of-33 from the floor. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant have ever scored more points in an NBA game.
“Here [in the NBA] it’s easier to score compared to Europe, of course,” Doncic told Eurohoops back in 2019. “In Europe, the court is smaller, and here there is the [defensive] three seconds rule. I think it’s easier to score here.” Tonight was a fantastic example of that. The Hawks showed him far too few looks and allowed Doncic to play the entire game in flow despite the Mavericks being without Kyrie Irving.
Doncic has been a basketball savant for basically his entire life. He has famously been professional since he was 13 years old. During that time, he has experienced very little turbulence. There have been times his team struggled, but very rarely has there been valid criticism of the Slovenian wunderkind personally.
In the Mavericks previous game, Doncic took some deserved heat for his performance and for his dispute with a fan. He also argued with the referees far too much. He apologized today and said he would do better.
Better is an understatement. This game was as close to offensive perfection as a player is likely to have on anything resembling this volume. He had multiple highlight reel passes that would have led to this being a triple-double if his teammates had converted.
Most importantly, he stayed away from arguing with the referees for the most part. He actually won the only real argument he got into as he asked for and was granted continuation.
Doncic is not perfect and never will be. No one is. But this was the perfect response to one of the rare down moments in his career. He is still young and improving, despite his brilliance.
This game showed what is possible when he utilizes all of his mental and physical prowess to focus on the game, rather than distractions. We are all lucky to have been able to witness it, and due to the technology of today we can relive it forever.