Luka Doncic had been having an average night but with the game on the line, the budding NBA superstar went ballistic in the Dallas Mavericks 107-104 win over the Houston Rockets.
Doncic had been having a pretty bad night from the field, shooting just three from 13.
Down by eight late in the match, Doncic put the team on his back and hit three straight three-pointers in an 11-point flurry to snatch the improbable victory.
“I wasn’t playing great,” Doncic said.
“My game wasn’t good at all. I get confident in the end of games. I would say that I feel comfortable.”
The burst saw Doncic score an equal team-high 21 points for the match.
For the Rockets, James Harden hit 35 points but didn’t hit his three’s with the game on the line, missing four attempts in the final quarter, including two while Doncic went on his run.
Doncic got a huge slice of respect from Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni.
“I thought we played well,” D’Antoni said. “I think the good news out of all this is that if we play with that intensity, we’re going to win a lot of games. Having said that, Doncic did it to us right toward the end.”
It was a back-end-forth game with the lead changing 26 times.
It moves the Mavericks to 13-11, while the Rockets continue to languish in second last in the Western Conference with an 11-14 record.
It’s been a huge start to his career from Doncic, eclipsing the other key rookies in the NBA with his phenomenal stats.
LEBRON’S TOUCHING GESTURE
LeBron James is a true champion and man of the people as he proved in Memphis.
Late in the fourth quarter of his side’s 111-86 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, James made a young woman’s nights by giving her his shoes.
Obviously they weren’t any stinky sneakers — these were a pair of LeBron’s exclusive line.
Visibly emotional, 23-year-old Brian’e Miller hugged the superstar with fans capturing it on video.
After the match, LeBron explained why he’d done it.
“Every year I’ve come here she’s always worn a very exclusive pair of my shoes, and I’ve always noticed it. I’ve never said anything to her,” James said.
“Tonight I said something to her for the first time, and she was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve always been team LeBron. Always.’ So she got a pair of LeBrons.”
Miller is an assistant equipment manager for the Grizzlies although it will be an interesting discussion point for the Memphis players next time they cross her path.
“It’s emotional because so many years I’ve been idolising him,” Miller told The Commerical Appeal. “He has so many fans. That’s the thing. I’m not a fan just when LeBron comes. I’m a fan when he’s not looking, so it was just really cool to see him appreciate me.”
LeBron and the Lakers recovered from a Friday night loss in San Antonio to dominate Memphis with 20 points each from James and Kyle Kuzma.
James added nine assists and eight rebounds, while Kuzma had nine rebounds, six assists.
TANK SEASON IN FULL SWING
Like Christmas in October, tank season seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year.
Just 25 games into the NBA season, the Chicago Bulls are well in the range to go for the freshest college prospect to try and rebuild their team around.
The Bulls were demolished 133-77 by the Boston Celtics in a record thrashing.
The 56-point margin of victory was the largest in Celtics franchise history, surpassing a 51-point win (153-102) over the Philadelphia Warriors on March 7, 1962.
The winning differential also tied the mark by an NBA road team, set by Seattle in a 136-80 win at Houston in 1986.
The 56-point loss was the worst in Bulls’ history, eclipsing a 53-point (127-74) defeat at Minnesota in 2001.
“Disappointing effort, disappointing outcome after what I thought was a really hard-fought two games and at home last night,” coach Jim Boylen said.
“Got to give Boston credit, I thought they made the shots.
“They kind of punched us and we didn’t respond.”
Shaquille Harrison came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points for the Chicago, which has lost eight of nine.
Zach LaVine had 11 for the Bulls (6-21), whose previous worst loss this season was by 39 points (122-83) to Toronto.
“We all should be (embarrassed),” LaVine said.
The Bulls fell flat after beating Oklahoma City 114-112 on Friday night on Lauri Markkanen’s layup in the closing seconds, giving Boylen his first win as an NBA head coach.
A longtime NBA assistant, Boylen took over Monday when Fred Hoiberg was fired following a 5-19 start. The Bulls lost at Indiana the following night in Boylen’s debut.
There are really just four teams in contention for the bottom of the ladder with the Phoenix Suns in the box seat with a 4-22 record.
Next are the Bulls with 6-21, with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers nipping at their heels on 6-20.
DELLY WELCOMED BACK HOME
Matthew Dellavedova was warmly welcomed back by Cleveland Cavaliers fans but it was rookie guard Collin Sexton that starred in their 116-101 NBA win over the Washington Wizards.
Sexton matched a career high with 29 points while Tristan Thompson had 23 points and 19 rebounds.
Wizards guard John Wall was held to a career low one point in 26 minutes as the Cavaliers welcomed back Australian guard Dellavedova after he was acquired in a trade on Friday.
He watched from the bench but was not suited up to play.
“I appreciate the love from everyone,” he said. “It makes me feel very welcome.”
Dellavedova could play on Monday when Cleveland visit the Milwaukee Bucks, the team that traded the 28-year-old.
“Obviously you don’t expect to pick and move, but it’s the NBA so it could always happen,” he said.
“If it was going to be anywhere I’m definitely glad it’s here where I’m comfortable with familiar faces and a lot of friends.”
— with AP
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