Amid a tough losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks picked up a big win on Friday night, defeating the Miami Heat 115-90. Luka Doncic managed to put on an impressive performance (as usual) and Dallas shut down the heat completely.
Defense have struggled to decipher Doncic all season and the Slovenian superstar is putting up MVP-caliber numbers because of it. After the game, Heat star Tyler Herro spoke about how Doncic not only plays for himself but for his teammates as well.
“He just did what he does every night. He does plays.” Herro said of the Bally Sports Sun: HEAT. “He’s a great player, making plays for himself and his teammates and making a lot of time for the right play and they ended up taking shots.”
Doncic shattered Miami’s defenses on Friday night as the 23-year-old star posted a ridiculous statline. He finished the night with 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists on 12-of-24 shots from the field and 5-of-8 shots from behind the three-point line.
Doncic not only put together another impressive game, but also prevented the Heat’s offense from having much success. Miami shot just 20.0% from long range and Dallas kept them at 90 points.
As for Herro, despite Miami’s lack of offensive success, he actually had a solid game. The young star dropped 16 points, five rebounds and an assist on 6-of-11 shots from the floor and 0-of-2 shots from long range. He spent 1:58 of play with Doncic during the competition, and the Mavericks star put up his most shot attempts against Herro, firing 2 of 5 from the field.
However, Herro isn’t the first NBA star to praise Doncic’s game this year. After the Portland Trail Blazers’ win over the Mavericks, the first of their two straight games, star point guard Damian Lillard spoke highly of Doncic.
“It’s not a one-man job. Luka is a great player.” Lillard explained in an interview with the Trail Blazers’ Brooke Olzendam. “He does the same to everyone. He’s going to come out, you know, he had a 60-point triple-double this year, he’s getting 40 points, like every night, so it’s important that we make it a team effort. We paid a lot of attention to him. We sent two guys on him all night. That can be exhausting. When you have two guys in your face and you have to be willing to trust your teammates and I think we would lose to other guys taking shots than to him. They couldn’t take it tonight, but tomorrow is a different story. We just have to look at what we did well tonight and do it again tomorrow and just know they’re going to come harder.
While Doncic has played great this year, it’s clear that the Mavericks are a distance or two from seriously contending for a title. And according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, he recently told the Mavericks’ front office that he would like them to provide assistance at the close of trade.
“Sources say Doncic, who has shown no desire to interfere in personnel matters in the past, has been very keen on wanting the Mavs to upgrade before the Feb. 9 trade deadline,” MacMahon wrote.