The first matchup between LeBron James and Luka Doncic was an instant classic.
In an overtime win for the Los Angeles Lakers over the Dallas Mavericks, James made history by becoming the oldest player in NBA history to finish a game with at least 30 points and 15 assists.
While it came in a losing effort, Doncic made some history as well. With his performance, the Slovenian became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double with at least 30 points and 15 assists.
After the game, James shared a moment with Doncic that went viral, telling the 20-year-old that he's a "bad motherf-."
Luka joined LeBron has the youngest players to record a 40-point triple-double.- Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 19, 2019
The King showed his respect 👑 pic.twitter.com/VFVDlQfq1C
That's not the only time James has praised Doncic since the Mavericks traded for him in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here's what James said about Doncic prior to their first meeting in the NBA, back on Nov. 31, 2018...
"Two of my best friends from high school play overseas now. So they told me a lot about him and say he's a really, really good player.
"I don't think this is intimidating to him. I don't think this game is something he hasn't seen before. That's the best thing about European basketball, pro basketball over there, they develop their players so early."
James then included Doncic's name a couple of months later when talking about players he'd like to play with. It was in response to something James said earlier in the season about how amazing it would be to play with Anthony Davis, prompting some to say that the Lakers superstar was tampering.
"Ask me would I like to play with Kevin Durant? Absolutely. Ask if I'd like to play with Jimmy Butler. I'll say it right now. Ask about Kyrie Irving, Giannis. Ask me about Embiid, Ben Simmons, all of 'em. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. Come on, guys, it's not rocket science. These are great players, absolutely. I'd love to play with a lot of great players. It's just who I am. And I play by the rules."
In the second meeting between the two last season, Doncic struggled in a Mavericks loss, finishing with only six points on 2-for-13 shooting from the field. He did, however, block James twice in that game, doing so on the same possession.
James said afterwards that Doncic's blocks caught him off guard and he later charged into Doncic on purpose.
"He actually came out of nowhere to get the double block on me. It wasn't even his man that he covered for him. I told him, 'I didn't even see you on both attempts.' Then he got the charge. I seen him on that one. I made sure I charged into him on that one. I did that on purpose."
Did Luka Doncic just block LeBron TWICE?!?! pic.twitter.com/cqL0cpKZZZ- Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 1, 2018
As for what else James had to say following their epic matchup this season...
"I don't really get into the one-on-one battle. Obviously he's a great young talent. I love his game, his ability to not only create shots for himself; but you guys know I love the fact that he can get great looks for his teammates.
"That's what I thrive on, that's what I've always believed in, and he just plays the game the right way."
Even though James said he doesn't get into one-on-one battles, Doncic was clearly at the top of the Lakers' scouting report when they played the Mavericks on Dec. 29. In a 13-point win for the Lakers, they held Doncic to 19 points on 5-for-14 shooting from the field. He dished out seven assists, but Doncic also committed six turnovers.
"I think we're just on a string," James said of the team's defence on Doncic. "We understood at the point of attack that Luka creates so much pressure on your defense with his scoring, with his ability to play-make, get into the cracks of the defense and make plays.
"We just tried to make it tough on him, but make it tough on other guys as well."
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