Luka Doncic played his first game as a 22-year-old Monday night the same way he’s dazzled in so many during his two-plus NBA seasons before: with the flair, control and production that have molded him into one of the historically great young players in the league.
Well, everything appeared to be the norm in the Mavericks’ 130-124 win over the Magic in Orlando except for the two possessions Doncic played without a left shoe.
Doncic finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and one lapse in footwear after a physical layup attempt at the end of the third quarter.
The temporary fashion slip, a combined 55 points from the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier, and a 38-point fourth quarter for Orlando didn’t keep the Mavericks from extending their strong February run into March.
The Mavericks have won nine of their last 12 games with one remaining before the All-Star break, Wednesday night against the Thunder in American Airlines Center.
“You’re constantly talking to players about not jumping in the air and making decisions,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Doncic. “This guy defies a lot of logic when it comes to conventional coaching theories, and that’s why we give him the ball and let him go.”
The Magic thought they entered Wednesday with a game plan fit to slow Doncic, who’s less than a week from making his second consecutive All-Star Game start.
Orlando coach Steve Clifford compared Doncic…