For the second consecutive playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers are facing-off in the first round.
In a stunning Game 1 upset, Dallas beat LA 113-103 behind a scintillating 31-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double from Luka Doncic.
Luka Doncic had his 3rd career playoff triple-double.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 22, 2021
No other Mavericks player has even had one in the playoffs pic.twitter.com/aFTbnDXO6j
While that stat line is nearly identical to Doncic's averages from the last year's playoffs against the Clippers - 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists - in actuality, Doncic seemed a lot more in control of the proceedings in Game 1 this year.
He started the game on fire, scoring or assisting on 37 of the team's first-half points.
Luka opens his 2021 #NBAPlayoffs with a 21-point half on ESPN! 🔥@dallasmavs 60@LAClippers 55 pic.twitter.com/4yhMfQvppT- NBA (@NBA) May 22, 2021
In the second half, he took the backseat as his teammates began finding a groove. In fact, in the Mavericks' 18-5 game-sealing run over the final six minutes, Doncic only played point guard and recorded three assists.
"We won the game, that's the most important thing, if I have zero or 15 points in the fourth quarter," Doncic said postgame discussing his one-point fourth quarter.
That's Doncic being modest as his numbers from this game put alongside some elite company.
He became only the ninth player in NBA history to record multiple 30-point triple-double in the postseason and is one only two players ever (Magic Johnson other) to record at least three playoff triple-double before turning 23.
22-and-under players with 30-point triple-doubles in the playoffs (via @ESPNStatsInfo):- Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 22, 2021
Luka Doncic (2)
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was giving Doncic his due postgame.
" This is his time of year, and he's one of the smartest basketball players you will ever meet at any age, at any level."
Although he's just 22 and in his second NBA postseason, Doncic has plenty of miles in professional basketball in him having played at Real Madrid since he was the age of 16.
" Luka has seen virtually every coverage known to mankind, every kind of double team, every kind of switching scenario & double teaming 30 feet away from the basket."
The young Slovenian is unlikely to have multiple off-games, so if his teammates can step-up and support him each game as they did in this one, Dallas could be looking at a legitimate upset in this 4-5 series.
Both teams will take the floor once again, for Game 2, on Tuesday, May 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET.
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