Luka Doncic’s latest feat ‘a little walk in the park,’ Jason Kidd says

DALLAS — Luka Doncic, who admitted to fatigue after a pair of shutouts during the Dallas Mavericks’ 0-2 road trip this week, went to work Saturday night refreshed. He attributed his energy to a long recovery day and “two, three, four” shots of espresso before the game as well as a Red Bull.

The results: 42 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ 117-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at the American Airlines Center.

“He had 42, triple-double, just a little walk in the park,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said.

Doncic hasn’t had such a remarkable production routine, but this was already the fourth 40-point triple-double of the 23-year-old’s career. That ranks sixth in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

That performance came as Doncic was held under 30 points for the first two times this season. His nine consecutive 30-point streak was the second-longest such streak to start a season, ranking only behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 23-game streak to open the 1962-63 campaign.

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Kidd expressed concern after back-to-back losses to the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards — when Doncic went a combined 17 of 50 from the floor — that the Mavs were asking too much of their superstar. Doncic leads the league in usage rate for the third consecutive season.

“He’s human,” Kidd said. “But I think he’s down two in a row and he’s not playing well, guys that have seen him more, he always comes back. That’s what he did tonight. He could have easily stopped the game to rest, but he battled and put us in a position to win.”

Doncic dominated against the Blazers attacking off the dribble. He was 13-of-22 from the floor, with all but two of his buckets coming in the paint, and 15-of-18 from the line, attempting more free throws than in the previous two games combined.

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“I just attacked the paint,” said Doncic, who is 10th in NBA history with 49 triple-doubles. “You could see the last two games I didn’t get to the free throw line and I wasn’t effective because I wasn’t going to the lane.”

The Blazers were determined not to let Doncic beat them, trapping him to force the ball out of his hands. His teammates responded with 3-pointers on four straight possessions to take command in the final minutes, the first on an assist by Doncic and the next off-the-ball 3-pointer that he initiated.

“Luca does a phenomenal job and is a problem for the defense,” said Mavs guard Spencer Dinwiddie, whose 20-point, seven-rebound, six-assist outing was highlighted by the first three 3s of the clutch flurry. “He gets two on the ball and makes the right read, the right pass.”

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Doncic consistently created open 3-point looks for his teammates all night. Outside of Dinwiddie (6-of-8 on 3), the Mavs struggled to shoot from deep (14-of-43 overall). However, Doncic didn’t hesitate to give the ball away with the game on the line as a Mavs team that was poor in clutch situations shut down the Blazers.

“I design the defense, just attack the paint and drive it away, and they’ll be open the whole game,” said Doncic, who leads the league with 34.3 points per game and ranks eighth in assists (8.1). “Just keep shooting. I always tell them, ‘Keep shooting’. You’re open, you’ve got to shoot it. That’s it. I’m going to keep my faith in them. That’s easy for me.”

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