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‘My Chest Was Burning’: Luka Doncic Returns as Mavs Beat Thunder 95-86

Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-86 as Luka Doncic returned to action for the first time in 10 games.

Mavs fans, rejoice! A fresh start is here in 2022.

Luka Doncic returned to action on Sunday night following a 10-game hiatus, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Thunder on the road, 95-86. With the win, Dallas got back to .500 on the season with an 18-18 record.

The starting lineup of Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Dwight Powell was the 15th different variation of the season, which tells you how COVID has affected the NBA landscape.

Picking up where he left off, Doncic scored his first points of the contest on a step-back three-pointer. In his first night back, Doncic recorded a modest 14 points, but contributed elsewhere with 10 assists and nine rebounds.

"My chest was burning,'' Luka said of returning to action. "It was a weird feeling, but happy. Very happy."

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Sunday night marked the third time Doncic and Brunson simultaneously started. Perhaps Brunson as the permanent starting guard next to Doncic is how it should be going forward.

Brunson finished the game with 12 points and seven assists. It was nothing flashy by any means, but Brunson played an efficient game as he usually does.

Nowadays, 10-day contracts dominate NBA headlines as COVID continues its spread. Marquese Chriss, recently signing the temporary contract, showcased why he belongs on the NBA roster for the duration of the season, scoring a team-high 15 points while shooting 3-of-3 from three-point range. Chriss did all of this in just 14 minutes and was a plus-14 for the game.

While most of the game didn't fall into an ‘instant classic’ category due to sluggish play, Thunder rookie Josh Giddey made history. Giddey's triple-double ranks him as the youngest to record such a mark. The Australian guard finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists. 

Next up, the Mavs will take on the Denver Nuggets at the AAC on Monday night as they look to build on their .500 'fresh start' in the new year.

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