A Luka Doncic-Trae Young head-to-head matchup will always make headlines. The young superstars were not just top five picks in the 2019 NBA Draft but also, Top 5 picks that were traded for each other.
Having said that, this was only their third career matchup, and the first since Dec. 12, 2018. Just like their two head-to-head matchups in their rookie year, this game was close and entertaining.
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Doncic outduels Young
The Slovenian sensation outdueled his counterpart in every stat category as he recorded 27 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds, and two steals, while Young finished with 21 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and one steal.
So nice with it 🏀 #MFFL | https://t.co/2vdqvhoD5b pic.twitter.com/ktPpxtMTdk- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 4, 2021
Given their high volume of ball-handling responsibilities, neither had a great game from an efficiency standpoint. Both turned it over four times as Doncic registered shooting splits of .400/.200 from the field and beyond the arc respectively while Young put up .444/.375.
Despite that, given their talent and skill, there was certainly no shortage of highlight plays from the 2020 All-Star Game starters.
🥶 @TheTraeYoung 🥶#NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/hrjBRE917a- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 4, 2021
KP on his head 😱@kporzee | #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/NgWDTTpJf1- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 4, 2021
With the win, Doncic holds the slim lead of 2-1 in his head-to-head matchups with Young.
Mavs end two streaks
This win is the Mavericks' first since Jan. 23, a span during which they had lost six straight. In fact, in the 10 games prior to this one, the Mavericks had gone 2-8.
"I feel great about this team," Doncic said postgame. "It was just a tough stretch. We just have to stay positive and enjoy [playing] basketball."
Six Dallas players scored in double figures in this one, including a 24-point, 11-rebounds double-double from Kristaps Porzingis, and 22 points by Tim Hardaway Jr. off the bench. For the Hawks, John Collins was the top-scorer with a career-high 35 points.
The game also marked the Mavericks' first win in Atlanta since Mar. 18, 2013 - snapping a seven-game losing streak at the State Farm Arena.
Contrasting roads ahead
After this one, the Mavericks will look to build more momentum as they play their seven games at home including the return fixture with the Hawks. Only three of those games are against teams with a winning record - Golden State Warriors (x2) and the Portland Trail Blazers. If they can pull off an upset in one of those three games and take care of business in the rest, Mavericks could be looking at a bounceback.
On the other hand, the Hawks, play an equal number of games on the road and at home from their next eight. Four of those games are against teams with a winning record - Boston Celtics (x2), Utah Jazz, and the Indiana Pacers.
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