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With Luka Doncic Having an All-Time Season, Anything is Possible for Mavs

The Dallas Mavericks have overcome a slow start to the season and multiple unfortunate injuries by winning seven consecutive games and rising near the top of the Western Conference. As long as Luka Doncic is on the court, the Mavs should be considered contenders.

Throughout NBA history, there have only been two players who have averaged least 30 points, eight rebounds, eight assists in a single season: Michael Jordan (1988-89) and Russell Westbrook (2016-17). Both Jordan and Westbrook won the league MVP award in those years.

 Through 35 games in the 2022-23 season, Luka Doncic is on pace to join them … and possibly surpass them. 

Doncic’s total averages of 34.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.9 assists would make him the first player in league history to sustain those numbers for a full season. Doncic is already in a category of his own when it comes to 60-point, 20-rebound triple-doubles, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he added another one-of-one record to his résumé.

Despite the Dallas Mavericks getting off to a slow start for the third consecutive year, the all-time season Doncic is having has powered his team back into the top part of the Western Conference standings. Dallas currently has sole possession of fourth-place in the West after rattling off seven consecutive wins – its longest win streak since the 2010-11 season – and it's just 2.5 games back of the top-seeded Denver Nuggets.

Given the Mavs' early-season struggled, things looked grim for them when they lost arguably their best three defenders in Josh Green, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber to untimely injuries. Doncic had already been playing at a high level with the Mavs struggling to stay at .500, so many figured losing those three key players would only make things tougher.

Then, Doncic flipped a switch and took things to another level...

During the Mavs' seven-game win streak, Doncic is averaging 41.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, 9.9 assists and 2.3 steals in 39.8 minutes while shooting 55.6 percent from the field, including 40.7 percent from deep.

Doncic has been flat out dominant, and he's refusing to let his team lose, no matter how many excuses could be made due to the number of key injuries.

In the Mavs' latest win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night, Doncic struggled in the first half by scoring only 10 points, and Dallas fell down by as many as 18 points in the third quarter. He turned things on in the second half, though, finishing with 39 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the Mavs went on to complete their biggest comeback win of the season, 111-106.

“Winning is always great,” said Doncic. “To win seven in a row is pretty good. I think today we played very bad. But great teams come back and win games."

Before this win streak, Doncic was getting to the free-throw line 10.1 times per game and shooting 73.2 percent. During these last seven games, Doncic has cranked up his aggression and is getting to the line 15.4 times per game while shooting 75.9 percent. In Monday’s win, he made a season-high 18-22 (81.8%) from the stripe.

“When things aren’t going well for [Luka], if he’s not shooting the three well, just his maturity to understand there’s other ways to score [is big]," said coach Jason Kidd. “And when you’re losing, to be able to score when the clock isn’t moving is a way to get back into the game and I thought he did that at a high level.”

Not only has Doncic raised his own level of play, but he's bringing the most out of Christian Wood as well, who is averaging 18.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game since starting alongside his superstar teammate. The Mavs are 7-1 in games where Doncic and Wood start together.

The Mavs still have roster improvements to be made at some point – whether it's before the Feb. 9 trade deadline or, more likely, in the offseason when draft pick flexibility opens up – but for now, Doncic is proving that he is capable of making a team a contender no matter what the circumstances. If he's healthy and on the court, anything is possible for the Mavs this season.

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