Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks to a convincing 122-108 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks.
Doncic’s stellar performance, marked by 39 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, showcased his multifaceted skills and propelled the Mavericks to a 3-0 road trip success.
Former Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 19 points, while Derrick Jones Jr. added 18, reinforcing the Mavericks’ offensive prowess.
The victory came on the heels of two significant trades earlier in the day, bringing big men P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford to Dallas. Kyrie Irving also chipped in with 16 points, highlighting the depth and firepower of the Mavericks’ revamped roster.
Doncic’s standout moment occurred early in the game with a behind-the-back pass, threading a 20-foot bullet to Dwight Powell under the basket.
The young Slovenian guard’s exceptional playmaking skills left the Madison Square Garden crowd in awe, setting the tone for the Mavericks’ dominance.
Mavs coach Jason Kidd expressed excitement about the acquisitions of Washington and Gafford, emphasizing their readiness to play alongside a superstar like Doncic.
Despite the Knicks putting up a fight with Donte DiVincenzo’s impressive 36-point performance and Josh Hart’s triple-double, the team struggled due to injuries and recent trades. All-Star Jalen Brunson, along with Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson, found themselves sidelined.
The Knicks, already down to eight available players, faced further challenges when Isaiah Hartenstein sat out the second half with a sore left Achilles tendon.
The Knicks’ roster was further depleted by trades, sending four players to the Detroit Pistons for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks. Coach Tom Thibodeau remained resilient, acknowledging the hurdles faced by the team but praising their fight. “We had a tough stretch in the third, but then I liked the way we fought back in the fourth,” Thibodeau commented.
The Mavericks, dealing with a shortage of big bodies without the immediate availability of Washington and Gafford, capitalized on the Knicks’ struggles. The victory showcased the Mavericks’ ability to adapt and excel despite challenges, underlining their status as contenders in the competitive Western Conference.
As the All-Star break approaches, the Knicks remain hopeful for the return of key players like Robinson, Randle, and Anunoby.
In the meantime, they’ve given opportunities to less-used players like guard Charlie Brown Jr. and rookie Jacob Toppin, who not only made his fifth appearance of the season but will also participate in the Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday.