Luka Doncic bags impressive feat during Dallas Mavericks vs Atlanta Hawks

He became the fourth player in NBA history to score 73+ points

January 27, 2024
Doncic added 10 rebounds and seven assists. - Twitter/MadridZone

Luka Doncic achieved a unique feat in NBA history on Friday, bagging 73 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 148-143 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

He became the fourth player in NBA history to score 73+ points and the first ever to score 70+ on 75% or higher from the field.

A superb performance saw the Slovenian star set a Mavs record with 41 first-half points, then smash his own franchise scoring record of 60 set against the New York Knicks back in 2022.

Doncic added 10 rebounds and seven assists. He connected on 25 of 33 shots from the floor — including eight three-pointers — and made 15 of his 16 free throws.

"It was just exciting," said Doncic, who was cheered even by Hawks fans. "Sometimes I couldn´t believe it."

Doncic ranked the performance "probably at the top" of his career, but with the Mavs coming in on a three-game losing streak he was just focused on getting a victory.

"We´ve been struggling lately," he said. "Mindset was get a win."

His sensational performance spoiled the return of Trae Young, who led the Hawks with 30 points after missing two games in concussion protocol.

Doncic´s effort pushed him into rarefied NBA territory. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant have scored more points in a game, Chamberlain with the league record 100 in 1962 and the late Lakers star Bryant with 81 in 2006.

Chamberlain also owns a 78-point performance and two of 73 -- a number also reached by David Thompson and, now, Doncic.

"It feels special to be in that conversation with those names," Doncic said, calling it "amazing" that his big night came on the fourth anniversary of Bryant´s death in a helicopter accident.

"We all loved Kobe," Doncic said.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd said it was something "extra special" from a player who delivers "special" on a regular basis.

"What he does on the court is different than anybody else," Kidd said, adding that Doncic´s ability to keep feeding his teammates amid his own red-hot scoring made the victory possible.

It meant he never feared Doncic´s hot hand would pull the Mavs out of their game plan.

"He is the game plan," Kidd said.

The Hawks had pulled within three points with less than two minutes to play, but Doncic drove for a layup, drew a foul and converted the free throw to help push the lead back to seven with 58 seconds left.

A Young basket cut the deficit to three with 10 seconds to play, but Tim Hardaway Jr. sealed it at the free throw line for Dallas, who were without injured Kyrie Irving.

Josh Green, who scored 21 points for Mavs, said he´d never seen anything like it.

"It felt like I was in a (video) game of 2K," he said. "Whoever was controlling Luka did a good job, I´ll tell you that."

— Additional input from AFP