Dončić led the Mavs to win against the Suns and his former Slovenian national team coach
The Dallas Mavericks ended their three-game losing streak thanks to Luka Dončić. The Mavs beat the Phoenix Suns 104-94. 19-year old rookie had 30 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Dončić scored at least 20 points for the 22nd time this season. He was probably even more motivated against the Suns since he played against his former Slovenian national team coach Igor Kokoškov with whom he won the Eurobasket in 2017. “I always love playing against friends, especially Kokoškov,” Dončić said. “I like to say something to him. I know all the plays because we used the same plays, so I told him they aren’t going to get the shot because I know all the plays.”
“He’s a very talented player, very versatile offensive player, and it’s nothing new to him,” Kokoškov said of Dončić before the game. “I’m not surprised at all.” Kokoškov joked that his staff deserved the credit for Dončić’s standout shooting abilities. Dončić often asked trainers to battle him 1-on-1. “It reminds me a little bit of Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki. They would play 1-on-1 all practice long. Luka, if you put him in the drills, he’ll give you OK. He’ll be OK. But if he plays you 1-on-1, whoever, he’s going to accept the challenge. He wants to play. He’s a kid. He enjoys playing basketball.”
Dončić overshadowed No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton, who managed six points. “I watch his games all the time. He’s a beast,” Ayton said of Dončić. “I’m like, ‘Aw, what the heck, there is no way Dončić is a rookie.’ That is what I say sometimes when I watch him play. He’s been there [professionally]. He’s been in situations like this.”
Dončić is averaging a rookie-best 19.8 points per game, along with 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assist. He could join Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and Grant Hill as the only rookies to average 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Mavs will travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Friday.