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Luka Doncic surpasses 10,000 career points, including 50 in Mavs victory

PHOENIX — Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic added his name to two lists featuring some of the game’s legends while lighting up the Suns on Christmas night.

Doncic entered Monday’s contest just 11 points shy of his career high of 10,000. He made the milestone in the first quarter and did so in the fewest games ever by a player since Michael Jordan. He finished the outing by becoming only the fourth player in NBA history with a 50-point performance in a Christmas Day game, leading the Mavericks to a 128–114 victory.

“Always, when this kind of reward comes with a victory, it’s even more fun,” said Doncic, who also had 15 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks. “It was a tough game on the road and we won. So, apart from the 10k and the 50 points, we won the game. So, I’m really happy.”

Doncic joined Bernard King, Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry in scoring 50 points on Christmas. It was the sixth 50-point performance of Doncic’s career, behind Jordan (nine) and LeBron James (eight) for the most players before turning 25 since the ABA-NBA merger, according to the search ESPN Stats & Information.

Doncic reached the 10,000 point plateau in just 358 games, tying Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo for the seventh most games needed to do so. Chamberlain needed just 236 games to score 10,000 points, the fewest in NBA history. Others who have scored 10,000 in fewer games than Doncic are Jordan, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and George Gervin.

At 24 years and 300 days, Doncic is the sixth youngest player to eclipse 10,000 points, behind James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady.

Doncic surpassed 10,000 points when he hit a 34-foot 3-pointer at 4:52 of the first quarter. It was his longest field goal of the season, according to ESPN Stats & Info data. He finished 15 of 25 from the floor, 8 of 16 from 3-point range and 12 of 12 from the free throw line.

Doncic totaled 26 points in the first quarter, scoring 17 points and dishing out four assists. The Suns only scored 24 points in the quarter.

Doncic, who played 44 minutes, including the entire second half, had an equally strong showing after the Suns rallied from a 15-point deficit to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. He had 10 points and five assists in the fourth, totaling 22 points and matching Phoenix’s total in the frame.

“Like I’ve always said, we can’t take him for granted when he feels it,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “You just try to give him the ball as much as possible. You also try to find a way to give him some rest because we weren’t going to get him out in the second half, so we had to ask him or someone “One of being able to run the offense. And I thought he did a great job of letting other guys bring the ball up.”

“But again, when he goes like that, you have to get him the ball, and you trust that your quarterback will do the right thing.”

Doncic totaled 82 points, surpassing Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic’s 78 against the Suns last season for the most by any player on Christmas, according to ESPN Stats & Info research. Doncic became the first player since James Harden in 2016 to total 50 points and 15 assists in any game.

“I mean, he does that every game,” Suns star Durant said. “He controls the whole game – the passes, the rebounds, the scores. We expect that from him at this point, right?”

It was the continuation of an incredible month for Doncic, who averaged 37.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 11.6 assists in December, which Dallas co-star Kyrie Irving missed most due to a bruised right heel.

“I’ve never been part of a team where someone scores the ball like this at such a high rate and also involves their teammates and makes sure everyone feels comfortable on the pitch ” said eight-year veteran forward Derrick Jones Jr., who scored 23 points for the Mavs (18-12). “It’s incredible. It’s incredible. I’ve never seen this before.”

Doncic pretended to be offended that he wasn’t asked about his defensive performance during his postgame press conference. He smiled as he said he should at least be considered for second-team NBA All-Defensive honors. He said he was more proud of the four steals and three blocks than the 50 points and 15 assists.

“Believe me, he stressed it,” said Mavs rookie Derek Lively II, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return after missing the previous four games with a sprained ankle. LEFT.

It was the Suns’ ninth loss in 12 games, dropping Phoenix (14-15) below .500.

“We just have to get our act together,” Suns star guard Devin Booker said. “And it’s on me, on coach, on KD, on all the leadership that we have here to make sure that we’re prepared.”

Doncic admitted he got a little more enjoyment out of his performance considering it took place in Phoenix. The Mavs and Suns have developed a rivalry since Dallas toppled Phoenix in the second round of the 2022 playoffs, and Doncic and Booker readily acknowledge their disdain for each other.

Doncic was booed when he took the court at the Footprint Center for his warm-up routine 90 minutes before Monday’s tipoff and every time he touched the ball early in the game. He exchanged trash talk with his fans throughout his spectacular performance.

“I love playing in these environments, especially outdoors,” Doncic said. “It’s fun for me. When you shoot, the whole gym is silent, so it’s the best feeling in the world.”

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