The Mavericks’ day off Sunday was one for celebrations — and not only because they beat the Nets 115-98 Saturday night to return to .500.
Luka Doncic turned 22 on Sunday, and though the coronavirus pandemic prohibited any major gatherings like last year’s 21st birthday bash in Miami, the Mavericks sang to him at midnight while bussing back to their hotel.
The last day of February 2021 also represented the perfect time to appreciate another Doncic-related date: June 21, 2018.
That’s the night Doncic (the No. 3 overall draft pick) and Jalen Brunson (No. 33) became Mavericks.
During the last four weeks, in which Dallas finally played with its full rotation and won eight of 12 games, the Mavericks’ 2018 draft class — birthday, on-court production, sarcastic friendship and all — has been thriving.
“They have played a lot together in the last three years,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “JB has a good feel for playing with Luka and vice versa. There’s a high level of trust between both of them.”
A week before starting his second All-Star Game in three seasons, Doncic finished his 21-year-old run as:
- The NBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles (32) among players under 22 years old.
- The Mavericks’ franchise record holder for career triple-doubles.
- A 2019-20 first team All-NBA selection, positioning him for a potential rookie scale max extension this offseason.
- The second player in NBA history to finish with at least 4,000 points, 1,000…