April 11, 2024
NBA: Luka Doncic creates another piece of history as he outbattles James Harden

NBA: Luka Doncic creates another piece of history as he outbattles James Harden

During his first two seasons in the league, the Slovenian has become accustomed to breaking records on an almost weekly basis, such is his excellency on the court.

And on Monday night, he etched his name amongst the game’s greatest players once again, becoming the fourth fastest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

After a slow start to the 2020-21 season which Doncic puts down to his conditioning, the 21-year-old put in his most dominant performance so far in the Mavs’ 113-100 victory over James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Doncic, who missed the previous game due to a quadriceps contusion, finished with season highs of 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, recording his first triple-double of the season.

“Luka’s one of many players that had heard the season wasn’t going to start until January or February,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said afterwards. “We started the year in December … so his preparation schedule was thrown off and he just got behind the curve.”

“It’s pretty clear now that he’s working his way back to where he needs to be. All his physical and conditioning indicators are really going in a good, strong direction. And you can tell on the floor. You can see that he’s getting better and better as each day goes by.”

Doncic’s triple-double was the 26th of his short career. It’s the third time the 21-year-old has had 30-plus points, 15-plus rebounds and 10-plus assists in a game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, all other players in NBA history have combined for two such games before the age of 22.

He outplayed 2018 MVP Harden, who finished with 21 points and 10 assists, as he works his way back to full fitness.

Doncic shoots the ball against the Houston Rockets.

Showing his worth

Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo signed the largest deal in NBA history with the Milwaukee Bucks in December.

And the Greek superstar showed once again on Monday why the Bucks offered him the five-year, $228.2 million supermax contract extension.

Antetokounmpo tallied 43 points as the Bucks downed the Detroit Pistons 125-115 to go over .500 for the first time this season.

The “Greek Freak” scored 30 points by halftime and his dunk with just two minutes remaining sealed the Bucks’ second straight victory by giving Milwaukee a 10-point lead. Afterwards, Antetokounmpo praised the developing chemistry of the team.

“It’s coming along. It feels good to win two in a row,” he told reporters. “And we’ve got to keep it going. We’ve got to stay focused, stay humble, keep grinding and hopefully we can get more wins.”
Antetokounmpo drives to the basket during the game against the Detroit Pistons.

Staying hot

After a career-best 62-point performance on Sunday night, Steph Curry was due to come back down to Earth somewhat.

But despite not stuffing the stat sheet like he did the night before, Curry remained in red-hot form nonetheless, pouring in another 30 points in the Golden State Warriors’ 137-106 romp over the Sacramento Kings.

The victory was the Warriors’ fourth win in their last five outings to improve their record to 4-3, with the return of superstar Draymond Green playing an important role in their return to form.

Curry is guarded by Marvin Bagley III of the Sacramento Kings at Chase Center.

After going to five straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 and winning three championships, Green believes there is a “long way to go” before they can think about competing at that stage again.

“We’ve played two good games. That’s great,” he told reporters. “But we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. This team, I think we have good potential, a lot of young guys, a lot of young talent that we can continue to build, and they’ll continue to grow and get better. But we’re a long ways off.

“Are we ready to compete with those teams? I don’t know. But we will compete, and that’s the thing.”