There have been some ridiculous individual performances in the NBA of late. Joel Embiid put up 70 points on Monday, and Karl-Anthony Towns almost matched him with 62 of his own.
Luka Doncic’s mortal enemy Devin Booker had 62 points on Friday night, and I can guarantee you he was big mad to check his phone later to discover that Luka outdid him with 73 points on 75.8% shooting in the Dallas Mavericks’ 148-143 win in Atlanta.
HISTORIC 73-POINT NIGHT FROM LUKA DONCIC 🤯
🔥 73 PTS 🔥 25/33 FGM (75.8%) 🔥 15/16 FTM 🔥 8 3PM
He becomes the 4th player in NBA history to score 73+ points and the first ever to score 70+ on 75% or higher from the field. pic.twitter.com/Afm9cyJung
This was the most points in a single game by a player since the late, great Kobe Bryant scored 81. If anyone was going to touch Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 100 points, I feel like Luka could’ve done it in this one if he was a tad more assertive, or if Dallas’ role players were a tad more deferential once they realized how hot he was.
Like, Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench to jack up 12 shots and nine 3-pointers. My man. For who? For what? PASS IT TO LUKA.
Anyway, it was pretty cool to see Luka holding up the “73” written on a sheet of paper as a tribute to Wilt’s iconic photo with “100.”
I almost don’t want to bring up the fact that all this came four years to the day that Kobe died in that tragic helicopter accident, but you couldn’t help but feel like something special was in the air. Luka reflected on that a little bit afterwards.
“We all love Kobe, man…obviously I wish he was here.”
People say the NFL is scripted. I feel like it’d be a lot easier to do that with the NBA given how lenient refs are toward giving superstars foul calls, how dubious defensive effort can be on a nightly basis, and how skilled modern players are. I don’t say any of this to minimize what Luka did. I say it as a totally-kidding conspiracy theory because of who he did it against.
The Atlanta Hawks, if you remember, actually drafted Luka third overall. They then traded him to Dallas in exchange for Trae Young and a first-round pick the following year, which was used to select Cam Reddish.
Mavs guard Luka Doncic on the cheers from the Hawks crowd in the second half:
“It was great. I could have been here, but I think it benefits both sides. I actually saw one fan wear Atlanta jersey with 77, so I was laughing.”
I can nary imagine the pain of being a diehard Hawks fan in attendance to see this one unfold. Sure, Trae had a nice night in his own right with 30 points and 11 assists, but the 18-27 Hawks are in shambles. Trae is somebody I’m sure Atlanta would love to trade. Who would take him, though? He’s a very small guard who can’t play defense and is an extremely streaky shooter with oft-dubious shot selection. Not a great combination.
What a great welcome back to the locker room for Luka, by the way. Gotta love guys being dudes being fellas.
OMG. Just saw this. Some guy named Alex Caruso (not the Chicago Bulls guard) whose X bio reads as follows: “Helping you Win at Sports Betting Every Single Day Featured on @ESPN.”
His location on X says, “Helping you win even more” with an arrow pointing to his Linktree…
LOCK: Luka Doncic Under 44.5 Pts + Reb
This is the BEST PLAY on the NBA Board Today as the Hawks allow the 4th FEWEST Points and 8th FEWEST Rebounds to PGs and Luka is Over in 1/10 on the road with Kyrie and has 45 PR or less in the 11 STRAIGHT GAMES vs Dejounte Murray while… pic.twitter.com/sWpd0iMnKH
Look man. I get that betting is an unfair fight. The NFL is easy compared to the NBA in my opinion. If you want a surefire way to lose money, tail this guy and/or bet the NBA on your own. It’s a f*cking nightmare especially because of load management.
I’m sure Alex Caruso is good at betting relatively speaking, even though he’s not the Alex Caruso who plays in the NBA. But damn, to be this wrong and to say “LOCK” in ten-toes-down all-caps is about as all-time of a whiff as the all-time great performance Luka put on his head.
Congrats, Luka. Now do this in the playoffs when more people are actually watching. Hope you can overcome Kyrie Irving’s nonsense and make a decent run.