Luka Doncic sunk a buzzer-beating three-pointer for the Dallas Mavericks against the Memphis Grizzlies and declared: "Those are the best feelings ever."

The Slovenian took centre stage in Memphis as he posted 29 points, sealing a 114-113 victory with just 1.8 seconds left on the clock to earn the nickname 'Houdini' from his coach Rick Carlisle.

Grayson Allen had only just missed two free throws for the Grizzlies, making the triumph even sweeter for the Mavs.

"I was really surprised when it went in," said Doncic, whose exploits earned praise on Twitter from LeBron James. "Those are the best feelings ever.

"Sometimes you're going to make it, but sometimes you're going to miss it, too.

"You've got to take that, too. I think that's the most important part. If my team trusts me in that moment, I'll keep working on it."

Coach Carlisle compared the Mavs' talisman to the legendary Harry Houdini, conceding his team had pulled off a miraculous escape.

"In those situations, you pull off a win in a game like that once in a blue moon," he said.

"It just doesn't happen very often. Luka made one of the signature, special shots that you're going to see for a long time.

"This is one of those joyous nights where we escaped. We had Houdini. He got us out of here alive.

"He's just a very, very special and unique guy when it comes to these kinds of things. He sees angles and possibilities and has a belief system that very few of us can fathom. Pretty amazing stuff."

The Mavs are now 30-24, sitting seventh in the Western Conference.

The Milwaukee Bucks lost again without Giannis Antetokounmpo on Thursday, but coach Mike Budenholzer believes the two-time MVP's absence can benefit his team.

The Bucks completed a six-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks, going down 116-101 at American Airlines Center.

Antetokounmpo featured in the first three of those games, yet he missed the next three after scoring a season-high 47 points against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 'Greek Freak' leads Milwaukee in points (28.8), assists (6.2) and rebounds (11.4) per game, while also contributing 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals.

Knee soreness is impacting Antetokounmpo's bid for a third straight MVP triumph, but it is also hindering the Bucks. The team are 29-16 when their superstar plays but just 3-3 without him.

Milwaukee were not helped against the Mavs by poor shooting displays from Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, their second and third men.

Middleton was an alarming 6-for-27 from the field for 14 points – 22.2 per cent, his second-worst outing of the year – as Holiday, who signed a lucrative contract extension last week, was 6-for-16 for 13 points.

Budenholzer acknowledged both players must perform better as he suggested the Bucks needed to adapt to playing when Antetokounmpo is not on the floor.

The 26-year-old forward played just 30.4 minutes per game last season when Milwaukee led the East, but he has been relied on for 34.0 minutes in 2020-21.

"The guys are getting more opportunities," Budenholzer said. "There's a little bit more of a load on both Jrue and Khris. I think they're learning to take that.

"We didn't make enough shots tonight; Khris, Jrue didn't make enough shots. We're getting better. We'll learn from these things.

"Playing without Giannis, he can't play 48 minutes, so I think there's going to be good stretches for us when Giannis doesn't play and we'll grow from these experiences playing without him."

While the Bucks struggled without their big name, Dallas got 27 points, nine assists and nine rebounds from Luka Doncic.

But the Slovenian also earned his 12th technical foul of the season. That tally has steadily increased over his NBA career – five in his rookie year, nine last year – and he is now just four shy of a one-game suspension.

"He's aware," coach Rick Carlisle said. "My level of concern is there. But look, he's an emotional competitor. It all comes from the right place.

"He's smart, he knows where the count is. If he's going to get his 16th, he'll get it in a situation where it's time for a day of rest anyway. I'm not really that worried about it."

It was a big win for the Mavs, who returned to winning ways after a shock defeat to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday ended a run of five successive victories since Doncic returned from a short lay-off due to illness.

"This was a playoff-type game [against the Bucks], playoff-calibre in terms of intensity and competitiveness and the talent on the floor," Carlisle said. "We did a much, much better job, top to bottom, than we did last night."

Dallas also got 26 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks out of Kristaps Porzingis. Eleven of his points came in the fourth quarter on 4-for-4 shooting after failing to attempt a single field goal in the final 12 minutes against the Rockets.

Porzingis said of his relationship with Doncic: "We're trying to play together and help each other. We want to win – at the end, we all want to win here.

"We have to keep playing, keep playing together, playing well and helping each other."

Luka Doncic says the Dallas Mavericks just have to "keep rolling" after scoring an impressive win over the Utah Jazz on Monday.

The Jazz, who hold the best record in the NBA this season, saw a nine-game winning streak halted as the Mavericks ran out 111-103 victors behind 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists from Doncic.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points to go alongside six rebounds and four assists, while Jalen Brunson (20 points), Josh Richardson (17 points) and Tim Hardaway Jr (16 points) all contributed in the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, who was missing with a wrist sprain.

The Mavericks, seventh in the Western Conference, are now on a five-game winning run and are 7-3 over the past 10, with Doncic admitted their latest result helps build confidence as the season moves into a critical stage.

"I mean win every win is a confidence win, every NBA team can beat you," he said.

"Every win is a confidence win here, obviously this one they're first in the West or second, so obviously it's a big win. We just have to keep rolling, I guess."

The Mavericks impressed in the long-range game, going 23 for 49 from three-point range. Prior to the game, Utah led the NBA in three-point attempts (17.1) and second for success rate (39.8 per cent), but they were 12 from 44 (27.3 per cent).

"To hold these guys to 103 is a hell of a job," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

"The difference was we just came out and we were much more physical than we were last time we played them. That was a long time ago; that was light years ago."

Zion Williamson is a "Shaquille O'Neal-type force" with skills like a point guard, according to Rick Carlisle, who saw his Dallas Mavericks struggle to contain the New Orleans Pelicans forward.

Having finished with a career-high 39 points in a loss to the Denver Nuggets in his previous outing, Williamson had 38 to help the Pelicans get back to winning ways on Saturday.

The 20-year-old contributed 10 points in a pivotal 18-8 run in the closing stages as he took over proceedings, helping New Orleans eventually prevail 112-103 as they claimed a third win in four outings.

Mavs coach Carlisle admitted his team found Williamson – who landed 12 free throws from 18 attempts, both season-high numbers – too much to handle with the game on the line.

"He's an unusual force and obviously a great player," Carlisle said.

"We'll have to figure something a little better out next time, but he's doing this to everybody. We did have some very good possessions guarding him, but he was a beast.

"It presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials. He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O'Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set."

Williamson is averaging 26.3 points per game in his second season in the league, shooting 62.8 per cent from the field.

The first overall pick in the 2019 draft has had five games in this campaign with at least 15 field goals attempts and an 80 per cent success rate, the most by any NBA player since Charles Barkley had five in 1988-89 when playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Only two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (412) and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (389) have taken more free throws than Williamson (364) so far this term, while he is also averaging seven rebounds per game.

His improvement as a playmaker is also impressive. Having averaged 2.1 assists in a rookie season that was limited to just 24 games, he is up at 3.5 through 43 outings in 2020-21, including 16 across in the last three for a Pelicans team fighting hard to make the playoffs.

However, while flattered by links to the legendary O'Neal, as well as other NBA greats, Williamson wants to leave his own legacy.

"I am who I am. I'm Zion. I'm trying to be the first and only Zion, that's all there is to it," he said after dazzling against Dallas.

The Pelicans are now 20-25 for the season to sit 12th in the Western Conference, with 14 of their victories coming in home games.

Rick Carlisle praised Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis' "tremendous" chemistry after the Dallas Mavericks won a fourth straight game.

Doncic (46 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds) and Porzingis (36 points and seven rebounds) led the Mavericks past the New Orleans Pelicans 143-130 on Friday.

It marked the first time in NBA history a pair of foreign-born team-mates each had 35-plus points in a game, as per Stats Perform.

Carlisle hailed the pair after the Mavericks improved to 13-14 to sit 11th in the Western Conference.

"They're both great offensive players, they're both very unique, they fit together extremely well, their games complement one another extremely well," the Mavericks head coach told a news conference.

"The chemistry was tremendous. Balls were being delivered on time, on target, people stepping into shots in rhythm. It was great stuff to watch."

Despite their win, the Mavericks gave up 130 points to Zion Williamson (36) and the Pelicans.

While Carlisle knows what his offense is capable of, he is eager to see the defense improve.

"This is why I keep talking about defense and I know some of our guys are talking about defense. This kind of shot-making is great, is it always sustainable? Of course not. Not every team can keep up this kind of pace, but we'll certainly try.

"This is the reason you've got to have a defense that'll hold up on nights maybe when you don't have it going quite like this. With the way we can space the floor, the way we can penetrate the ball, the way we can shoot the ball, all those kinds of things, we're going to create our share of problems for teams with our offense.

"We've just got to keep working on the basics – transition, protecting the rim, closing out, contesting and rebounding, those are the main things."

Luka Doncic surpassed Michael Jordan in the NBA history books with a triple-double but he took the blame for the Dallas Mavericks' loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Doncic posted his 29th career triple-double, however, the Mavericks still went down 117-101 against the Bulls on Sunday.

All-Star Doncic moved above Bulls and NBA great Jordan and into 15th position on the all-time triple-double list after finishing with 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists.

Doncic put up the fourth 35-plus point, 15-plus rebound and 15-plus assist game in NBA history, while he joined Oscar Robertson (five times), Wilt Chamberlain (1968) and James Harden (2016) as the only players with that stat line.

However, Dallas star Doncic was not happy after the Mavericks suffered back-to-back defeats.

"The second half, I played terrible… I was being selfish a bit I think, because I had 30 points in the first half," Doncic told reporters.

"That wasn't me in the second half. I've got to do way better than that. That's just on me. I shouldn't be doing this."

Doncic added: "I was just taking some shots I shouldn't be taking. Just have to do way better than this. As a team, we have to step up, especially defensively and bring the energy."

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said: "The stats are spectacular. It's phenomenal.

"But without a win, he won't be happy with it either."

Dallas Mavericks duo Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle were delighted to see Kristaps Porzingis back in action after the Latvian made his first appearance of the NBA season on Wednesday. 

Having undergone knee surgery in October, Porzingis had missed Dallas' first nine games as he continued his recovery.

A potential return on Monday was then scuppered when the clash with the New Orleans Pelicans was postponed in accordance with the league's health and safety protocols amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

However, the former first-round pick by the New York Knicks was finally able to take the court again against the Charlotte Hornets, contributing 16 points during his 21 minutes in a 104-93 triumph. 

"He' an amazing player," Doncic - who led the way with 34 points - said, according to Dallas' official website. 

"He's got to get back into rhythm, and I think for the first game he played amazing. He's going to keep improving and we're going to need him a lot."

Mavs coach Carlisle admitted Porzingis' return – admittedly on a restriction in terms of minutes – makes a huge difference to the team, including helping to alleviate some of the pressure on the shoulders of Doncic. 

"When both of those guys are out there, it's a game-changer for us because you've got two guys that can both play on the inside and really space the floor on the outside," Carlisle said.  

"They can both put the ball on the floor and make plays. 

"You get two franchise players, it's important to have them on the floor together and available to play. You look at every team in this league, if they're without one of their cornerstone guys it's going to be a lot tougher job. 

"I think everybody feels a lot better now that KP is back in the mix."

The game was also notable for Carlisle in terms of a personal milestone, as he reached 800 victories in his coaching career.

Porzingis himself accepted he had been a little too eager to make an impact during his comeback, knowing his involvement in the game was always going to be limited. 

"What I think didn’t help me was knowing that I had the minutes restrictions," Porzingis said. "I was trying to do as much as I could in those minutes that I had. 

"Sometimes you don't make the best decisions when you really want to be aggressive, but it's okay. I wanted to be aggressive for the time I was going to be out there, and most importantly [it was the] first game and first win for me."

Luka Doncic said the Dallas Mavericks "showed who we are" in their 51-point demolition of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavericks showed no mercy in their record-breaking 124-73 humbling of the Kawhi Leonard-less Clippers in the NBA on Sunday.

Dallas earned a 77-27 half-time lead – the Mavericks' 50-point advantage the largest through two quarters since the shot-clock era began in 1954-55.

It is the first time in NBA regular-season history that a team won a road game by 50-plus points against a franchise that had a .650 or better winning percentage the season before, per Stats Perform.

"We showed who we are," said Doncic – who posted 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 26 minutes – after the Mavericks were swept aside 138-115 by defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day.

"People judged us off the first two games of the season. It's a long season, but we've got to keep going like that.

"We've got to play defense. That's our specialty from now on."

Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. added: "The funny thing is, no one realized it until we got into halftime, to be honest with you.

"It was just everybody making sure that we didn't focus on the score at all. ... Everything was just clicking on all cylinders, and thankfully we got the win."

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said: "We've had several months now of not normally operating. These are inconveniences, but right now they're realities. I don't see any of our guys complaining about it or making excuses about it.

"Of course we'd like the world to be in a better place than it is right now. With the [coronavirus] vaccine here and being administered and stuff like that, things certainly will get better. But right now we've got to adapt and we've got to find ways to come together as a team in a very difficult beginning of the season with the schedule."

Luka Doncic will take a leaf out of the books of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and add a new crinkle to his game next season, according to Rick Carlisle.

The Dallas Mavericks' season came to an end on Sunday as the Los Angeles Clippers secured a 111-97 victory to win their first-round playoff series 4-2.

The fact they pushed one of the favourites to six games owed much to Doncic, who averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists during a stellar series at the end of his second year in the NBA.

"He's one of the toughest players that I've ever seen in this league, and that goes back 35 or 36 years," Mavericks coach Carlisle told reporters.

"He is a great young player that's getting better each year. He's Rookie of the Year last year, this year's up for Most Improved [Player]. I'd like to know if that's ever happened before.

"I expect that he'll come back next year even better with something new in his game. The same way that [Larry] Bird and Magic [Johnson] and [Michael] Jordan, all those great players did every summer. Now, it's going to be a fall whenever we reconvene as a league again.

"But he has an irrepressible enthusiasm for the game, for his team-mates and for winning.

"Today it was hard getting him out of the game. Second half we didn't do it until the very end.

"We're so fortunate to have him and now we've got to get our roster completely healthy and keep working to get the right players around him."

When that was put to Doncic, the Slovenian said he would spend the offseason trying to hone his shooting.

Doncic averaged 28.8 points in 2019-20 regular season – the sixth-best total in the league – up from 21.2 in his rookie season.

"There's a lot of things to improve on," he admitted.

"You cannot work just on one thing, you've got to work on everything. But I think I'll especially work on my shooting – that's my key."

Despite the disappointment of a first-round exit in the post-season, Doncic was pleased with how hard the Mavs pushed the Clippers.

"A great season," he added when asked to sum up the campaign. "I'm proud of our team, how we fight. I think we fight until the end.

"The Clippers have an amazing team. It was hard but I think we give everything. We played especially hard in the playoffs and I'm proud of our guys."

Luka Doncic will miss at least the Dallas Mavericks' next six games, head coach Rick Carlisle has revealed.

MVP candidate Doncic suffered a right ankle sprain in practice on Thursday and was ruled out of the game against the Houston Rockets the following day.

The 20-year-old sprained the same ankle in December, missing four games, but Carlisle was unable to offer an immediate estimate for his return this time.

However, speaking on his show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Friday, the coach had an update, saying: "He'll miss the next six games, for sure."

The 29-18 Mavs are fifth in the West but look set to be without Doncic against the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets, as well as the Rockets.

Dallas then face the Utah Jazz on February 10.

Doncic is averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists in his second NBA season.

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle fears Dwight Powell may have suffered a "severe" Achilles injury in a 110-107 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Powell went down in agony late in the first quarter at American Airlines Center and had to be helped back to the locker room.

The center will undergo an MRI scan on Wednesday and the Mavericks are fearing the worst, having only just welcomed Kristaps Porzingis back from a knee injury.

"It's a sombre night with Dwight's situation," Carlisle said. "He's going to have an MRI.

"Right Achilles injury feared to be severe, but we won't know for sure until the diagnostic tests are done. It's a real tough one."

Carlisle added: "He's one of the soldiers of the franchise really. But he's an upbeat guy. And if the news ends up being the worst news, we've seen how [J.J.] Barea recovered [from a right Achilles tear suffered last January].

"So, Dwight will get back there. But we don't know yet."

The Mavericks (27-16) are fifth in the Western Conference after a four-match winning run was ended by the Clippers (31-13).

Luka Doncic won effusive praise from coach Rick Carlisle after starring in the Dallas Mavericks' 122-111 win over the Detroit Pistons.

The 20-year-old had a triple-double of 41 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in an NBA clash staged in Mexico City.

Doncic won over the crowd after the Slovenian addressed them in Spanish ahead of Thursday's match, then lit up the arena with a stellar display.

"Doncic was spectacular," Carlisle said in quotes reported by the Mavericks' official website. 

"I thought [Kristaps] Porzingis was great. Seth Curry off the bench was a microwave. That means when you dial it and push the button, it gets hot real fast."

Carlisle was particularly pleased the fans were treated to Doncic at his best.

"This is getting routine. He's doing this a lot," he said. 

"I'm happy for him and I'm happy for the people of Mexico City to be able to see a performance like this. It was a great individual performance.

"But I also liked the way he moved the ball and stayed within the team. He's a great individual talent, but he knows how to play with his team-mates.

"Some of his lob passes to Porzingis were breathtaking, spectacular."

The win moved the Mavericks to 17-7, third in the Western Conference.

Luka Doncic was called "absolutely breathtaking" by Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle after tying his career high with 42 points on Friday to round off a brilliant November.

The Slovenian bounced back from a rough night in the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers - when he went 4-of-14 shooting - to lead the Mavs to a 120-113 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Doncic also had 11 assists and nine rebounds and finished the month as only the third player in NBA history - along with Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson - to go through an entire month while averaging a triple-double that included at least 30 points per game.

"It's surprising, but it's not shocking," Carlisle said in quotes published on the Mavs' website.

"He's just an exceptional player, an exceptional person and he's exceptionally tough.

"You don't find that combination in 20-year-old guys coming into the NBA very often. But he's having a spectacular year. Just absolutely breathtaking."

The 22-point performance against the Clippers was Doncic's worst of the season but he bounced back in style, something that did not surprise Carlisle.

"He's a great player," Carlisle added.

"Great players have a short memory for tough games and they move forward and they're always thinking ahead.

"They're always thinking about the next challenge, and he was spectacular from start to finish.

"He hit the floor hard twice, which everybody saw, but he's an extremely tough hard-nosed guy who seemingly always bounces back up and keeps playing. He's an amazing player."

Rick Carlisle declared Luka Doncic "can do anything he wants on a basketball court" after he inspired the Dallas Mavericks to a 117-110 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Slovenian prodigy conjured up a career-high 42 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in a magnificent display at American Airlines Center on Monday.

Doncic became the second-youngest player in NBA history to rack up a 40-point triple-double, with only his idol LeBron James having achieved the feat earlier in his career.

Mavericks coach Carlisle said: "This guy can do anything he wants to on a basketball court. He's having one of those magical runs right now.

"It's a phenomenal thing to watch. It's a phenomenal thing to be a part of."

Forward Doncic said: "It feels like every day there are stats you don't know about, stats that you read about. It's great to hit."

Dallas are 8-5 after winning two in a row, while the struggling Spurs have now lost six on the spin and are languishing at 5-9.

Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan said: "When adversity hits, you can't run from it, you can't shy away from it, you can't let it get you down.

"Try to channel that energy and put it in the right place so we can understand why we got beat."

 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.