NBA Scores: Luka Doncic is already surpassing Dirk on the Mavericks leader board

Last week, when ESPN released its latest NBA power rankings, it led with the headline, “Luka and Steph can carry their teams only so high”. The post noted that the Mavericks and Wariors do, in fact, “boast two of the best players in the NBA so far this season” in Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry, respectively, but that neither team has capitalized on the great seasons from their All-NBA stars. When said power rankings were released, both Dallas and Golden State hovered around the .500 mark.

Entering Tuesday evening’s NBA action, the same was true. The Mavericks sat at 9-10, while the Warriors were 11-10. Both teams found themselves toiling their way through mediocrity despite nightly all-world efforts from their respective superstar leaders. It may be early, but a season can slip away fast. It’s fair to wonder: Is it time to worry about these squads?

Both had an opportunity to prove that fear meaningless on TNT last night. Time to recap their matchup, as well as the rest of the NBA action from Tuesday.

Luka outduels Steph as Mavericks edge Warriors in thriller, 116-113

In 20 years in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki scored 40 points in a game 20 times. (It sounded low to me, too.) That’s ranks second all-time for 40-point games by a Maverick — Mark Aguirre did it 22 times.

On Tuesday, Luka Doncic recorded his 20th 40-point game in a Mavericks uniform. That means that — *takes deep breath* — at 23 years old, in just his fifth season in the NBA, he has as many 40-point outings as one of the greatest pure scorers to ever walk this Earth, a man who, need I remind you, played for 20 years. Luka is now the 10th player in NBA history to have 20-plus career games of 40-plus points before turning 24. I don’t know what to say about this kid at this point.

Doncic didn’t just score 41 in a three-point win over the Warriors: He pulled down 12 rebounds and added 12 assists, too. It was his 51st triple-double — most in the history of the Mavs by a country mile.

And yet the Warriors still had a chance to win it at the end. With 10 seconds left and Dallas leading by two, Steph Curry — who finished with 32 points of his own — traveled, giving the Mavs the ball and a chance to seal the game. But Dorian Finney-Smith missed the second of two free throws, thus handing the Warriors a golden opportunity to send the game to overtime.

No dice. Klay Thompson got a great look but couldn’t cash in. Golden State fell to 11-11 with the loss, and is now just 2-10 on the road this season. Yeesh.

Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

Knicks blow out Pistons in Detroit, 140-110

Pssttt… Is Julius Randle starting to put it all (back) together? He celebrated his birthday by going off for a season-high 36 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in New York’s walloping of the Pistons. Over his last four games, he’s averaging 24.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. While we’re placing current players side-by-side with all-time greats, he’s now tied with Patrick Ewing for the most 30-5-5 games in Knicks history (they both have 20; yes, this is a bogus stat.)

So far this season, the Knicks have remained better than below-average because Jalen Brunson has carried them there. If Randle can remain as solid a second-fiddle as he’s been of late, New York might be able to put together an unexpected playoff run.

Shorthanded Clippers outlast Dame-less Blazers, 118-112

No Kawhi, no Paul George: No surprise, but no problem! The Clippers eked out their second-straight win — and fifth out of their last seven — thanks to 32 points off the bench from Norm Powell and a balanced effort from just about everyone else. Reggie Jackson (24), Robert Covington (15), Ivica Zubac (12), and Terance Mann (11) all finished in double-figures to pace L.A., who improves to 13-9 with the win.

The Blazers, meanwhile, are sputtering. They’ve lost two in a row, are 3-7 in their last 10, and cannot seem to keep Damian Lillard on the floor. Anfernee Simons (37 on Tuesday) and Jerami Grant (32) have been bright spots this season, but after a blazing hot start, this squad has decidedly crashed back down to Earth. Pity.

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