Doncic's 41-point Spectacle Squashes Rockets' Playoff Hopes in Dallas Duel

Doncic's 41-point Spectacle Squashes Rockets' Playoff Hopes in Dallas DuelSource: Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Richard Dawson
Published on November 30, 2023

Luka "Wonder Boy" Doncic dazzled the court with a stunning 41-point performance Tuesday night as the Dallas Mavericks clipped the wings of the Houston Rockets, thwarting their quarterfinal dreams with a nail-biting 121-115 victory. In the skirmish that kept fans on the edge of their seats, the Mavericks, already knocked out of contention, played spoiler, rocketing the New Orleans Pelicans to the top of Group B in the Western Conference.

Despite nursing a low-grade sprain in his left thumb, Doncic was, in every sense, spectacular, falling just an assist and a rebound shy of what would have been his 59th career triple-double, tying the legendary Larry Bird. "Sometimes we take him for granted, and we shouldn't," Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. The kid is just a walking triple-double with a penchant for winning, it would seem, hoisting the Mavs on his back in a game that saw them nine points down in the third quarter, according to CBS News.

Speaking of comebacks, Kyrie Irving, who had laced up his clutch shoes, dropped 22 of his 27 points in the second half, playing the perfect sidekick to Doncic's heroics. While the Mavericks initially lagged, a pivotal moment came with a lead-seizing drive by Irving at 99-98 with just over six minutes remaining in the game—a comeback, as per AP News.

Meanwhile, on the Rockets' end, Rockets coach Ime Udoka was less than impressed with his squadron's finesse, or lack thereof, as they aggressively fumbled the ball in the decisive moments of the game. "I told the team, 'Played well enough to win, not smart enough to win,'" Udoka expressed, per AP News.

Certainly, for the Rockets' Alperen Sengun, it was a night to remember as he posted a season-high 31 points, showing that Houston's roster isn't running on empty just yet. They just happened to face a determined Dallas defense, who, despite the reservations surrounding the specially constructed court's quality—prompting the Mavericks to snub it—managed to bring their A-game in front of the home crowd, as reported by FOX Sports.