Dončić ties career-high with 35 points in Dallas’ win over Cleveland
Two days after Luka Dončić found out he will not be a part of the All Star game, the Dallas rookie sensation tied a career-high against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Slovenian teenager scored 35 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in Dallas’ victory 111-98 over Cleveland. The win was just the Mavericks’ sixth in 27 road games.
In Quicken Loans Arena, where his idol LeBron James used to play, he scored 18 of Mavericks’ 40 points in the first quarter, when he became the sixth player since 2000 to score 1,000 points before turning 20. “I tried to show every day that I can be in that game,” Dončić said. “But unfortunately they didn’t pick me, so I’ll just try to work harder to be there next year.”
Dončić had 28 points at halftime. If he played more in the final quarter, he would have reached 40 points. “I was hoping so. But we got the win, so that’s what matters to me,” he said. He became the fourth teenager in league history with seven 30-point games, joining LeBron James (20), Carmelo Anthony (10) and Kevin Durant (7). “Everyone knows LeBron is my idol, so to be compared to him is amazing,” Dončić said.
He was playing in front of large Slovenian crowd. He learned before the game that Cleveland has the largest Slovenian population outside Slovenia. There are 55,000 Slovenians living in Ohio. Even Slovenia’s first prime minister Lojze Peterle greeted Dončić. “I was talking with a friend this morning and he told me about Cleveland’s Slovenian population. I did expect fans, but not that many. They were great. They were cheering for me. It felt amazing.”
The Mavs will host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.