Mavs’ Luka Dončić Outlasts Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Wows NBA Fans in Win

Mavs’ Luka Dončić Outlasts Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Wows NBA Fans in Win
Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2023

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 12: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 12, 2023 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks were on the second half of a back-to-back on Tuesday night, facing the In-Season Tournament champions and were without Kyrie Irving due to a right heel contusion.

That might have been daunting for most players. But not Luka Dončić—he had it covered.

The Slovenian superstar out-dueled LeBron James and Anthony Davis, putting up 33 points, 17 assists and six rebounds in a 127-125 thriller over the Los Angeles Lakers.


Luka full-court pass on a DIME 🪄

📺 Lakers-Mavs | Live on TNT


Spin into a step-back 3? 😳

A little Luka magic!

📺 Lakers-Mavs | Live on TNT



Luka wraps the pass around the defender 😲

📺 Lakers-Mavs | Live on TNT



Luka was the headliner, though he certainly had plenty of help, as Tim Hardaway Jr. (32 points off the bench), Dante Exum (26 points, 7-of-9 from three) and Grant Williams (19 points) all had fantastic games. But who do you think got them so many clean looks?

It was Dončić. It almost always is. And NBA fans and pundits alike admired the domination:

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Luka Doncic, leading the Mavs to a pair of wins the last two nights with half of their rotation hurt:

68 points, 14 rebounds, 23 assists, 2 techs in 87 minutes

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

It is amazing and a testament to Luka that the non-Luka Mavericks can BARELY move on offense, like literally four steps per possession total combined, and they have the 4th best offense. Like, NO ONE moves.

Marcus Thompson II @ThompsonScribe

Luka smooth took Bron’s cookies

Keef Tkachuk @AlexAtTheTime

Letting Luka go 1 on 1 in winning time is crazy

Ian @iansewell_

Luka really does whatever he wants on the court lmao

Giordano Chris 🦈 @tgf_chris

Luka hooping

Kirk Henderson @KirkSeriousFace

The Dante exum award for actually finishing shots off cool Luka passes

SJ @SJBasketball8

this is the signature win of the season. it’s time to take luka seriously in the MVP race now. the sample size is growing

Ball Don’t Stop @balldontstop

Luka is probably the best one man show in the NBA right now. You put shooters around him and it just works. Similar to prime Harden and the young Cavs LeBron. Having them at the point is a glitch. They pull everyone in all game. He will keep them afloat with Kyrie out.

Oh and by the way, Dončić was questionable coming into Tuesday with a lower back contusion. But it didn’t matter. Not even a little bit.

His primo performance spoiled huge nights from James—who almost had a triple-double with 33 points, nine assists, eight rebounds—and Davis (37 points, 11 boards).

It was a testament to Luka’s ability to make everyone around him better, and a reminder of how scary it must be for opposing teams when he’s surrounded by shooting. The Mavericks shot a blistering 21-of-43 from beyond the arc on Tuesday, a cool 48.8 percent.

And the Lakers actually were even more efficient from deep, shooting 51.6 percent from three (15-of-29). But Luka’s ability to consistently collapse the L.A. defense and create wide open jumpers for his teammates was ultimately the difference.

The win moved the Mavericks to 14-8 on the season, while the Lakers dropped to 14-9. Call it another résumé-builder for Dončić’s mounting MVP case.

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