Mavs' Luka Doncic dazzles with 73, tied for 4th in NBA history

ByABC News
January 26, 2024, 10:09 PM

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic had a night to remember Friday, lighting up State Farm Arena for a career-high 73 points in a 148-143 victory over the host  Atlanta Hawks.

It marked the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, passing the 70-point performance by Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid on Monday against the San Antonio Spurs. It also tied Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson for the fourth-highest output in NBA history. Chamberlain, who owns the NBA record with 100 points, also had a 78-point outing, while Kobe Bryant finished with 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006.

"Those names are special," Doncic said. "It's unbelievable."

Friday night marked the NBA's 15th 70-point game, and Doncic is the 10th player to reach the plateau.

A three-point play with 2:58 remaining gave Doncic 70 points. With Dallas leading 140-136, he added another three-point play to cap his effort.

Doncic, who averages 34.6 points per game, said the performance ranked "probably at the top" in his career but added that he was just focused on getting the win.

"We've been struggling lately," he said of the Mavericks, who had lost three straight before Friday. "Mindset was [to] get a win. We played great."

Doncic's epic night included 41 points at halftime, which broke Dirk Nowitzki's franchise record for points in a half. He reached 57 by the end of the third quarter then opened the fourth with eight straight points.

Doncic scored 23 points in the second quarter after opening with 18 in the first.

He finished 25-of-33 from the field, including 8-of-13 from 3-point range, and converted 15 of 16 free throws.

"He was hot. He was going," said Trae Young, who led Atlanta with 30 points. "We were trying everything. We were trying to trap him."

Josh Green scored 21 points for Dallas, but Doncic carried the offense.

"I've never seen anything like that," Green said.

Doncic also had 10 rebounds and seven assists. He became the fifth NBA player with at least 70 points and 10 rebounds in a contest, joining Chamberlain (who did it six times), Elgin Baylor, David Robinson and Embiid, who did it Monday.

With the assists, no one in NBA history had as many points, rebounds and assists in a game as Doncic did Friday.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd, when asked if his game plan changed because Doncic was so hot, said with a laugh, "He is the game plan."

"Some say they are a system, he is the game plan," Kidd said. "His ability to make shots, create shots, find open guys, he did that at a high level tonight."

He added: "I've said this before, we can't take him for granted. Every night is special. He always does something. Sometimes we are a little bit tough on him because of the wins and losses, but what he does on the court is different than anybody else."

Doncic's previous career high was 60 points, set against the New York Knicks on Dec. 27, 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.