Luka Doncic drops 53 in Mavs win while tweeting with Pistons assistant

Luka Doncic drops 53 in Mavs win while tweeting with Pistons assistant

DALLAS — Luka Doncic made a detour to the Detroit Pistons‘ bank during a timeout with 7.1 seconds remaining in the Dallas MavericksVictory 111-105 monday night

He approached Pistons assistant coach Jerome Allen to offer some parting thoughts, punctuating a conversation that had continued throughout the game, a final exchange that stretched out as they booed as Doncic retreated slowly towards the Dallas bench.

When the discussion ended, Doncic laughed and flashed a big smile. He had certainly gotten the last word, scoring 53 points in his return from a brief absence due to a sprained left ankle to lead the Mavs to victory.

“I mean, from the first quarter, I was tweeting,” Doncic said after his NBA-leading fourth 50-point performance of the season. “You know I’m going to whistle again. From the first quarter, he was tweeting. I don’t want to say the words. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s basketball. It makes me go safe.”

Doncic looked at Allen after most of his baskets in the first quarter, when the Mavs played offense in front of Detroit’s bench and Doncic scored 24 points on 7-of-8 shooting. On several occasions, Doncic spoke trashing Allen as he ran back to the defense. That happened many more times throughout the game, as Doncic tied Dirk Nowitzki for the second-highest scoring performance in franchise history, trailing only Doncic’s 60-point outing in an overtime win on 27 of December on the New York Knicks.

“It’s a lot of nothing, a lot of nothing,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We’ve seen worse. Remember, I coached Gary Payton and Kevin Garnett, so tonight was zero as far as whistling goes. I liked it. I thought it really got us going, and that’s how it should be with competitive guys. Doncic He’s very competitive. I love the way he plays, the way he carries himself and I love the way our guys responded. They weren’t intimidated. So it’s all good. I was clean, there was nothing dirty.

“That’s fine if that’s what he needs to get going and tell himself. But he doesn’t need any help. He’s a great player without all the other stuff, but he is what he is.”

Doncic was remarkably efficient, going 17-for-24 from the floor, 5-for-11 from 3-point range and 14-for-18 from 3-point range in his return from missing a game with the ankle injury. He was coming off the only scoreless performance of his career, having sat out Thursday’s win against the Phoenix Suns just three minutes and 21 seconds into the game due to the injury.

“Obviously not 100 percent, but it’s OK,” Doncic said of the ankle. “He did a good job.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Doncic became just the fourth player in the last 50 years to record four 50-point performances before February, joining Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and James Hardenthe latter of whom achieved the feat three times.

Dallas needed a dominant performance from Doncic as the Mavs had to rally from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to pull out the win.

The Pistons often trapped Doncic in the midcourt, forcing the ball out of his hands, holding him to just three points in the second quarter as his Dallas teammates struggled to hit open three-pointers created by Detroit’s attention to the MVP candidate.

“He’s been very unselfish with double teams,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “The pace of those shots, we just have to be consistent because we’re going to see that all year. Once we started knocking them down, our defense picked up.”

The Mavs made it a priority to pick up the pace in the second half to prevent the Pistons from running their traps on Doncic. He dominated the quarter, scoring 18 points on five layups, one steal off the dribble and six free throws.

“Sometimes you just have to accept coverage when they’re doubling,” said Doncic, who also had eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. “If he’d waited, they’d still come twice as many. But sometimes, right before he leaves, he attacks. And he attacks the paint every time.”

“We’ve seen worse. Remember, I coached Gary Payton and Kevin Garnett, so tonight was zero as far as whistling goes. I liked it. I thought it really fired us up, and that’s how it should be with competitive guys.”

Pistons coach Dwane Casey on Luka Doncic’s trash talk

Dallas pulled to within one point late in the third quarter. The Mavs took the lead while he rested for the first six minutes, and Doncic was the shutout, scoring eight points in the final 4:01. He hit a dagger with 46 seconds left, a pivot fade from the free-throw line that got a friendly rebound after hitting the front rim, pushing Doncic over the 50-point barrier.

It was Doncic’s fifth career 50-point performance, one more than the rest of the Mavs have combined in franchise history. Not more Rick Barry has the most 50-point performances at age 23 or younger in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, as Doncic matched Wilt Chamberlain, lebron james and Jordan in this category.

“It’s tough,” Casey said. “He gets you in with his body, he scores, he gets to the free throw line. If not, he steps back with his 3. If you don’t have the right personnel, the right body on him, you have to make plays. How we done tonight. I thought we did as good a job as you can do to make somebody else try to beat you. We weren’t the first and we won’t be the last.”

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