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Mavs' Luka Doncic Moves Up NBA MVP Ladder; Nuggets' Nikola Jokic Remains Favorite

After moving up on the weekly ladder, Mavs superstar Luka Doncic remains among the top candidates for the 2024 NBA MVP award.

DALLAS - The 2023-24 regular season is winding down, with many teams having about 15 games left to play. The MVP race seems to be zeroing in on Nikola Jokic as the top candidate amid his averages of 26.0 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 9.1 assists, guiding the Denver Nuggets to a top-seeded 47-20 record.

Among the shortlist of candidates remains Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic, averaging 34.3 points, 9.8 assists, and 9.0 rebounds.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic

The weekly MVP ladder on moved Doncic ahead of Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics for fourth place. Doncic trails Jokic, Oklahoma City Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo. The main hurdle Doncic faces is the Mavs ranking eighth in the Western Conference standings. 

"Although Dallas remains eighth in the West, the Mavericks captured four straight victories before Thursday’s loss to Oklahoma City with Doncic lighting up the scoreboard for triple-doubles in three of those four outings," Michael C. Wright wrote.

"He strung together seven consecutive triple-doubles before Wednesday’s win over Golden State. A hamstring injury sidelined the 25-year-old for the loss Thursday in Oklahoma City. The MRI on that left hamstring came back clean, but he’ll be re-evaluated over the weekend."

Doncic can put together a strong performance against Jokic and the Nuggets on Sunday afternoon if he plays. The Slovenian superstar participated in Saturday's practice after being sidelined for Thursday's 126-119 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to left hamstring soreness. 

In his previous performance against the Nuggets, Doncic finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists on December 18, but the Mavs were defeated in blowout fashion, with a final score of 130-104. The game involved Kyrie Irving being sidelined due to injury, but Dallas struggled to execute defensively, as the team has typically faced lately. The Mavs have lost four of their last five games against Denver.