The idea that Luka Doncic can be stopped is a fool’s errand. That he can be contained, however? Yeah, no. Also a fool’s errand, one that the Lakers learned the hard way on Thursday night en route to their fourth-straight loss (against the Mavs, that is).
That leads things off for us in today’s NBA scores roundup.
Luka’s late-game heroics help Mavs survive Lakers in double OT, 119-115
It took two Luka stepbacks to do it, but the Mavs survived two overtime periods in Los Angeles, making it four-straight wins over L.A. for Dallas. Doncic finished with a triple-double — 35 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists — in the win. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he’s now the first player at age 23 or younger to average 40 points over a 10-game span since Michael Jordan in 1986. Better yet, he’s the only player in NBA history to average 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists over a 10-game span. This kid is unreal.
Celtics outlast KD-less Nets, 109-98
Being without Jaylen Brown — who missed Thursday’s game with a right adductor strain — isn’t exactly the same as being without Kevin Durant (who sprained his right MCL against the Miami Heat on Sunday). But the Celtics’ robust late-game surge held off the Nets and Kyrie Irving, who led all scorers with 24 points, despite going three-for-10 in the fourth. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 points and 11 rebounds, as Boston snagged their fifth-straight win.
SGA’s 35-point night propels Thunder past Sixers, 133-114
Heat top Bucks in battle of short-handed squads, 108-102
No Giannis Antetokounmpo, Grayson Allen, Khris Middleton, Serge Ibaka or Joe Ingles for the Bucks; No Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro or Caleb Martin for the Heat. Going in, I’d have said advantage Miami. Too bad I’m not much of a betting man.
Gabe Vincent dropped a career-high 28 points to lead all scorers, while Bam Adebayo added 24 points and 12 rebounds. Jrue Holiday's 24 points topped Milwaukee’s box score, while Jordan Nwora (16) and AJ Green (15) got some run off the bench, and delivered in significant ways, despite the loss.
Raptors drop Hornets for third-straight win, 124-114
If you’re like me, and you still can’t quite figure out how to feel about the Toronto Raptors’ season to this point, best not use this current stretch as a bellwether. Sure, they’ve won three in a row, but be wary of who those wins came against. A double-digit win over Portland is one thing, but beating Charlotte twice isn’t exactly something I’d write home about. Even if it did lead to the team’s first three-game winning streak of the season.
Pascal Siakam scored 35 points, Scottie Barnes added 21, Gary Trent Jr. dropped 19, and O.G. Anunoby had 15 to propel the Raptors, who led by as many as 18 and never trailed. Maybe they’re onto something. This upcoming stretch — they face the Hawks, Knicks, Bucks, Timberwolves, and Celtics in their next five — should paint a better picture.
Dame’s 50 can’t get Blazers back on track; Cavs win, 119-113
The usual suspects finished in double figures for Cleveland — Donovan Mitchell (26), Jarrett Allen (24), Darius Garland (20), Evan Mobley (17), and Isaac Okoro (11) — but the story here is the Trail Blazers’ inability to backup Damian Lillard. Dame dropped 50 in a game where Portland didn’t trail until there were five minutes left in the game, one that they proceeded to lose. Jerami Grant (22) and Anfernee Simons (15) are serviceable, even efficient second fiddles, but they aren’t guys who can fuel deep playoff runs. One might say that they aren’t CJ McCollum, Lillard’s former running mate. I digress on that point.
Something has to change in Portland. Five-straight losses now. And I can’t imagine Lillard is enjoying himself.