Doncic on Mavs: ‘I think we’re playing better basketball now’

On Saturday night in Dallas, there was a shootout between the Wizards(29-35) and Mavericks(36-27) and a shootout between Russell Westbrook and Luka Doncic.

Doncic finished with 31 points (12-23 FG), 12 rebounds, and a career-high 20 assists, while Westbrook led Washington with 42 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, but the biggest shot of the game was made by Dorian Finney-Smith, who hit the game-winning corner three with 09.3 seconds left to lift the Mavericks over the Wizards 125-124 at American Airlines Center.

Finney-Smith finished with 22 points, and for the Wizards, Bradley Beal added 29 points.

Doncic became the fourth player in NBA history with 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, and 20 assists in a game. He joined Magic Johnson, Russell Westbrook, and Oscar Robertson as the only players to do so, and what was more impressive is that Doncic had only one turnover in this game.

After the game, Doncic was asked about his triple-double, and according to him, he was more impressed with the one turnover.

“I think I’m more impressed with having only one turnover,” he said. “That never happens. I was more impressed with that.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was impressed with the triple-double and the one turnover.

“I’m actually equally impressed with both,” Carlisle said… “I thought Luka [Dončić] ‘s poise down the stretch was spectacular. He just was very, very focused, made every single right play, and fittingly got the last rebound off the [Bradley] Beal miss. Look, everyone expects greatness from him every single night. Just think about it, at 22 years old, having that kind of expectation put on you every night. But he’s an amazing player and does an amazing job absorbing all of it.”

With the win, the Mavericks are tied with the Lakers for the fifth-seed in the Western Conference, and according to Doncic, the Mavericks are playing solid basketball right now.

“I think we’re playing better basketball now, but we’ve got to focus every game,” Doncic said. “We’ve got to come out like today and just keep having the same energy.”

If the Mavericks stay at five or six, they will play either the Nuggets(third seed) or the Clippers(fourth seed). Dallas is 2-1 against both of those teams, but who knows how much that will matter come playoff time. However, the most important thing is to avoid the seventh-seed, which keeps you out of the Play-in Tournament, and currently, Dallas has a one-game lead on the Blazers.

The Mavericks play the second game of their back-to-back on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings, who defeated Dallas two times in April.

Notes:

Back to Westbrook, this is the first time that he has missed a triple-double by one point, rebound or assist this season.

Kristaps Porzingis(knee) missed last night’s contest against the Wizards and will miss Sunday’s night game against the Kings. Porizingis hurt his knee on Thursday night against the Pistons. No timetable on his return.

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