Buoyed by a six-game winning streak, the Dallas Mavericks (21-16) can now aspire to No. 1 in the NBA Western Conference. Basketball may be a team sport, but the success of the Texas team can be explained by the prowess of one man: Luka Doncic.
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December was a very successful month for the Slovenian leader. In addition to leading his team to an 11-5 record, he had three games of 50 points or more to bring his total to 34.2 points per game since the start of the campaign, a high in the Silver circuit.
Before welcoming Doncic and the "Mavs" on Saturday, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had set himself a rather generous goal: to limit the 23-year-old athlete to less than 50 points.
Doncic, however, mocked the Spurs by amassing 51 points, nine assists and six rebounds, in a narrow 126-125 win.
"In seven years in the league, I've never seen anyone accomplish what they're doing," teammate Christian Wood told the NBA website. He can't let go. He's had an incredible streak and he's clearly one of the best players in the league. I'm happy for him."
Wood has good reason to celebrate, as the Mavericks would likely be lost without the services of the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. Doncic managed to make up for the loss of Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Green, Maxi Kleber and JaVale McGee, who are all currently on the floor.
“We have several injuries right now and we expect more from our bench players,” said head coach Jason Kidd. But Luka manages to make up for that.
“You can't expect him to get 50 points every night. But he was amazing [Saturday]. He helped us out again.”
The Mavericks will have the opportunity to extend their winning streak against the West's last team, the Houston Rockets, on Monday.