Orlando, United States (AFP) – Luka Doncic delivered a monster triple-double performance as the Dallas Mavericks bagged their first win of the NBA’s relaunched season in an overtime thriller against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Slovenian scored 34 points, with 20 rebounds and 12 assists as the Mavericks completed a 114-110 victory to get their campaign back on track in the Western Conference.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis also came up big with 22 points apiece as the Mavericks overturned an 11-point deficit to seal victory at the HP Field House on the NBA’s Orlando campus.
Doncic’s masterclass made him the youngest player in NBA history to score 30-point, 20-rebound triple-double.
“It wasn’t our best game – far from that,” Doncic said. “We fought, we hung in there, we helped each other, we never gave up. We needed that win and you can never count us out for sure.”
“Nothing came easy in this game at all,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. “It was a struggle, and
everybody kept everybody together, and we just kept saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to find a way,’ and guys were encouraging each other.
“Really a well-deserved win for our guys.”
The win saw the Mavericks, who have already guaranteed a playoff place, improve to 41-29 in the Western Conference.
Sacramento’s chances of sneaking into the postseason remain slim however. The Kings have lost all three of their games since the league restarted and are 13th in the West, on the brink of elimination.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Phoenix Suns continued their hot streak in Orlando with a third straight victory to stun the Los Angeles Clippers 117-115.
Devin Booker was the hero for Phoenix, scoring on the buzzer to cap a 35-point display and a dramatic win over the highly rated Clipper.
Booker, who was mobbed by team-mates as he fell backwards on the court, also had four rebounds and eight assists.
The 23-year-old was one of five Phoenix players to finish in double figures, with Deandre Ayton (19 points) and Ricky Rubio (18) the pick of the other Suns scorers.
The win keeps Phoenix’s hopes of forcing their way into the postseason alive. The Suns are within a game of ninth place and firmly in the hunt to earn a place in the play-in tournament.