Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Luka Doncic scored a franchise-record 73 points, tied for the fourth-most in NBA history and surpassed only by Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant, to power the Dallas Mavericks to a 148-143 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

Doncic blew past his personal-best and team-record 60 points after scoring a team-record 41 points in the first half.

His record night came only four days after Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid scored a franchise-record 70 points, then the most in the NBA this season, in the 76ers’ 133-123 win over San Antonio on Monday night.

A three-point play with 2:58 remaining gave Doncic 70 points. With Dallas leading 140-136, Doncic added another three-point play to cap his night.

Against the team that drafted him in 2018, Doncic joined Chamberlain and David Thompson among players who scored 73 points. Chamberlain, who owns the NBA record with 100 points, also had a 78-point game, while Bryant finished with 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006.

The Mavericks rode Doncic’s big game to end their three-game losing streak while handing the Hawks their fourth straight loss. Doncic made 25 of 33 shots from the field, 8 of 13 3-pointers and 15 of 16 free throws. The field goals made set another personal record.

Trae Young led Atlanta with 30 points, including a 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining that trimmed the Dallas lead to 146-143. Jalen Johnson added 25 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic had 24.

Doncic scored 23 points in the second quarter after opening with 18 points in the first.

Doncic, who averages 33.6 points, nailed a 3-pointer with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter, giving him a season-high 51 points. He then took aim at his career high of 60 points, also the Dallas record, set against the New York Knicks on Dec. 27, 2022.

The Hawks had no answer for Doncic. Jalen Johnson opened as Atlanta’s primary defender on the 6-foot-7 guard. Saddiq Bey, Dejounte Murray and others tried without success to slow Doncic’s high-scoring pace.

Doncic’s milestone game came in his original NBA home, at least for a few minutes.

Doncic was selected by the Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft before having his draft rights traded to Dallas for Young with the No. 5 pick and a 2019 first-round pick used to select Cam Reddish.

It also came on the four-year anniversary of the death of NBA legend Bryant, who perished in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2000, at the age of 41.

Doncic scored 41 points in the first half to set a franchise record for points in any half. He made 17 of 22 shots from the field, including 6 of 9 3-pointers, in the half.

The Mavericks’ previous high mark for points in a half was 34 by Dirk Nowitzki in the second half against Utah on Nov. 3, 2009.

Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving missed his second consecutive game with a sprained right thumb. He suffered the injury against Boston on Monday.

Dallas forward Derrick Jones Jr. suffered a sprained left wrist with 30 seconds remaining in the first half and did not return.

Young cleared the concussion protocol after missing two games.

The rematch between the teams, originally scheduled for April 5 in Dallas, has been moved to April 4, the league announced Friday.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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