The Dallas Mavericks will be hoping to get away with a minor injury after franchise centrepiece Luka Doncic sprained his ankle and departed Thursday's game in the first quarter.

The incident occurred just three minutes into the Mavericks' road game against the Phoenix Suns as Doncic accidentally stepped on a defender's foot, turning his ankle.

Dallas immediately called a timeout and Doncic was helped back to the locker room, before being ruled out at quarter-time.

The Mavericks announced their initial X-rays were negative, indicating there are no broken bones, but they will need an MRI to determine how much damage has been done.

Doncic has suited up for 45 of the Mavericks' 50 games up until this point, and he entered play leading the league in scoring with 33.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per contest.

His zero points against the Suns could see him fall behind Joel Embiid (33.4 points per game) in the race for the scoring title, but Doncic has already collected one major honour this season after it was announced early on Thursday that he will be an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year, and a starter for the third time.

LeBron James is set to tie the record for the most All-Star Game appearances in NBA history after being announced as one of the two team captains on Thursday.

James, who will match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he suits up for his 19th All-Star Game in Salt Lake City next month, will be joined by Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo as the captains. 

In a league-first, the captains will draft their reserves live in the lead-up to tip-off, as opposed to previous years when the draft was conducted via a pre-recorded segment and aired weeks before the game.

While most of the expected names were announced as starters – including reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and Golden State Warriors icon Stephen Curry – there were also some surprises.

The two head-scratchers were New Orleans Pelicans franchise player Zion Williamson and controversial Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.

Williamson is averaging the highest points per game figure (26.0) for any player shooting at least 60 per cent from the field this season, but has only played in 29 of the Pelicans' 49 games so far. He is also scheduled to miss at least two more weeks, meaning he will have only played in roughly half of the possible games by the time All-Star Weekend arrives.

Meanwhile, Irving has a stronger case as he averages 26.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists, but his addition as a starter in the East means relegating reigning scoring champion and back-to-back MVP runner-up Joel Embiid to the bench.

After James' 19th appearance, the next-most among the starters belongs to Kevin Durant, who has missed some time with injury in his own right but was playing at an MVP level prior to earn his 13th All-Star nod. Curry will play in his ninth edition, while Irving now has eight and Antetokounmpo has made seven consecutive.

The full list of starters includes:

Western Conference 

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Eastern Conference

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

Normally, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks visiting the Phoenix Suns would feel like a battle for supremacy near the top of the league.

However, going into their clash at Footprint Center on Thursday, it threatens to be the latest in a poor run of form for Dallas, who not only have a bad recent record in Phoenix, but whose form has fallen off a cliff in 2023.

Their win at the Houston Rockets in their first game of the year was their seventh in a row, but since then they have a record of 3-8, including back-to-back home defeats to the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards in their last two outings.

Head coach Jason Kidd recently called for an improvement from his defense, whose standards have slipped this season.

Following defeat to the Atlanta Hawks last week in which they conceded 130 points, Kidd said: "In this league, if you do that, no matter if you have Luka or Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] or LeBron [James], you're going to lose. It doesn't matter how many points you score, you're always going to be short.

"So until we put a better effort into playing defense and understanding what we have to do, we're going to score 120, but we're going to give up 130, 140. One night we might give up 150, but we'll be fine because we scored, so it doesn't look too bad."

The Suns are recovering from their own bad run, though.

Last year's runaway Western Conference winners started the season with 15 victories in their first 21 games, before only succeeding in six of their next 24.

Four wins on the bounce since then have sparked hope of a resurgence in Phoenix, though, and they will be hoping to take advantage of a vulnerable Mavericks side.

After his impressive performance in the 128-97 win against the Charlotte Hornets, Cameron Johnson said: "It's life – you weather storms. Things don't always go your way. We've found that out the past couple years. That doesn't mean you tuck tail, run, sell the farm, hide away forever.

"We have a lot of confidence in our group. Top to bottom."

Monty Williams' men will look to call on that confidence when they welcome the Mavs to Arizona.

PIVOTAL PERFORMERS 

Phoenix Suns – Chris Paul

The experienced Paul was absolutely central to the recent 112-110 win against the Memphis Grizzlies, scoring 22 points with 11 assists, before putting up another 11 assists against the Hornets.

With Devin Booker out, Phoenix have had to share the wealth when it comes to scoring points, and Paul has been key when available in enabling others to find those points.

If Deandre Ayton (illness) is missing again, it will likely come down to the 37-year-old to step up once more.

Dallas Mavericks – Luka Doncic

The Suns are 20th in the league for points scored this season, but the Mavs are a place lower. That seems pretty crazy when you think they have one of the best players in the league in their ranks, and he is again having a productive season.

From 44 games, Doncic has led the way with an average of 33.8 points per game, the most in the league, with 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists.

The Slovenian will need help from his team-mates in Phoenix, and a lot more than he had when his 41 points against the Wizards wasn't enough for the win.

KEY BATTLE – Can the Mavs defense finally thrive with no obvious Suns threat?

As mentioned, Dallas have struggled to stop the opposition from racking up the points this season, going from the second-best defense in the regular season last year to 12th so far this.

One factor they could rely on here, though, is the Suns being without Booker and therefore without anyone averaging more than 17.5 points per game (Ayton). 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Prior to Dallas beating Phoenix 130-111 in early December, the Suns had won 10 in a row against them, while they have gone 9-1 in their last 10 home games against the Mavs.

The Memphis Grizzlies' achieved a franchise record 11th straight win with Desmond Bane and Ja Morant starring in a thrilling 115-114 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Darius Garland had a three-point shot on the buzzer blocked by Dillon Brooks, after Steven Adams tipped in with 16 seconds left after Morant's miss.

Bane top scored for the Grizzlies with 25 points, including five-of-eight three-point shooting. Morant added 24 points with eight assists for Memphis, who improved to 31-13, along with 20-3 at home.

Morant had spent time in the locker room in the first quarter after copping a knee to his neck, but re-entered the game in the second quarter.

Game-winner Adams scored 13 points with 10 rebounds and four assists, while Jaren Jackson Jr had an excellent all-round game with 15 points, seven rebounds, two steals and four blocks.

Memphis also managed an 11th consecutive game with 115 or more points.

The Cavs were missing Donovan Mitchell due to a groin strain, with Garland top scoring with 24 points on five-of-11 three-point shooting along with 14 assists.

Caris LeVert added 23 points with four rebounds and six assists, with power forward Evan Mobley scoring 18 points and bringing down 15 rebounds with two blocks. The Cavs are now 28-18.

Trae downs Doncic as Hawks win fourth straight

The Atlanta Hawks continued their run of momentum with their fourth straight win in a 130-122 victory over Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks.

Dejounte Murray scored 30 points, making four-of-six three-pointers, while John Collins added 19 along with 18 from Trae Young plus 12 assists, as the Hawks secured a season-best four-game winning streak to move above .500 at 23-22.

Doncic, who was traded as a top-five pick for Young at the 2018 NBA Draft, scored 30 points for the Mavs, but only 11 after quarter-time, while he gave up seven turnovers.

Jokic adds another franchise record in Nuggets win

Nikola Jokic recorded his 14th triple-double of the season as he surpassed Alex English for the most assists in franchise history in the Denver Nuggets' 122-118 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The MVP candidate finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, going past English's 3,680-assist franchise record with a dime for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Jamal Murray added 28 points for the Nuggets, who secured their eighth straight win and 15th successive victory at home to remain top in the west, at 32-13.

LeBron James became the second player to 38,000 career NBA points before Russell Westbrook's failed final play as the Los Angeles Lakers lost 113-112 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

With the Sixers leading by one point, Westbrook rebounded after Joel Embiid missed a two-point shot with 16 seconds remaining, opting to advance the ball, rather than take a timeout, before failing to get a clean shot or pass away as the clock expired under defense from Embiid and Georges Niang.

The finish took some gloss off James' significant achievement, reaching the 38,000 career points mark in the first quarter, before finishing the game with 35 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Only one player in NBA history has more career points than James and that is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387. James is on track to surpass Abdul-Jabbar next month.

The game was tight throughout, with Embiid top scoring for the Sixers with 35 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field with two three-pointers. Embiid also had 11 rebounds and four assists. James Harden contributed 24 points, seven rebounds and 13 assists.

Westbrook played 34 minutes of the bench with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists but four turnovers. That marked Westbrook's 198th career triple-double.

Jokic sinks late three to clinch Nugs win

Back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic landed a step-back three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to secure the Denver Nuggets a 119-116 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Jokic finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists for his 12th triple-double of the season, with the Nugs clinching their 13th straight home win to remain top of the Western Conference.

Aaron Gordon added 25 points with eight rebounds and five assists, while Jamal Murray delivered 18 points with three three-pointers and seven assists.

Lillard leads Blazers past Mavs missing Doncic

Damian Lillard backed up with 40 points for the Portland Trail Blazers to complete a two-game back-to-back sweep of the Dallas Mavericks, 140-123.

Lillard shot 10-of-17 from the field and four-of-nine from three-point range with six assists for the Blazers, who had lost five in a row prior to the two games against Dallas.

The Mavs rested Luka Doncic after his season-low 15 points in Saturday's game, having starred in Thursday's double overtime win over the Lakers.

Ja Morant scored 23 points including an incredible one-handed dunk of the year candidate to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to their ninth straight win, 130-112 over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

Morant drove forward, reached back with his right arm and launched a massive dunk with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter over Jalen Smith to open up a 20-point lead.

The Grizzlies guard finished the game with 23 points on seven-of-17 shooting from the field, with 10 assists and three rebounds.

Morant is averaging 28.7 points per game during the Grizzlies' nine-game win streak.

Desmond Bane was solid as always, going five-of-11 from three-point range in his team-high 25 points.

The victory means Memphis are tied with the Denver Nuggets at 29-13 for the best record in the Western Conference. The win was the Grizzlies' fourth straight on the road.

The Pacers, missing Tyrese Haliburton, were led by Chris Duarte with 25 points despite a hand concern.

Embiid seals Sixers victory over Jazz

Joel Embiid's jumper with 5.7 seconds remaining clinched a 118-117 victory for the Philadelphia 76ers over the Utah Jazz.

Embiid finished the game with 31 points on nine-of-18 shooting from the field with two three-pointers, seven rebounds and two blocks, while James Harden added 30 points and 11 assists.

Utah trailed for most of the game but hit the lead at 115-114 with 33 seconds left, with Jordan Clarkson scoring 38 points with nine rebounds.

Doncic kept to season low as Blazers fire

Luka Doncic was kept to a season-low 15 points as Damian Lillard led the Portland Trail Blazers to a 136-119 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic was benched with seven minutes to go by Mavs head coach Jason Kidd, in a game where the Blazers snapped a five-game losing run, having led 71-56 at half-time.

Lillard was exceptional with 36 points on 11-of-20 shooting with four three-pointers and 10 assists, while center Jusuf Nurkic added 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Spencer Dinwiddie got the credit from Luka Doncic after the Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Lakers in double overtime.

Doncic helped himself to a 10th triple-double of the season – only Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets has more – as the Mavs triumphed 119-115 on Thursday at the Crypto.com Arena.

The 23-year-old top scored with 35 points and added 14 rebounds and 13 assists, ensuring the efforts of LeBron James – 24 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists – and Russell Westbrook, who grabbed 28 points off the bench, were not enough for the Lakers.

However, Doncic said it was Dinwiddie, who had six points in the second period of OT to pave the way for Reggie Bullock's game-winning free throw, who was responsible for the victory.

"He's an amazing player," Doncic said of Dinwiddie, who is averaging 16.1 points per game this season.

"He can dunk, he can score. He's really a great player, he helped us a lot. He won the game tonight."

Doncic forced both overtimes with clutch three-pointers, while Chris Wood delivered with a double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds.

"I get to my step-back, that's it. We were down by three, so I was going to attack with a three," Doncic explained to TNT.

"It was very physical. Two overtimes, a lot of minutes. We had to stay focused, but we came through. A win is a win."

While the Mavs are fourth in the Western Conference with a 24-19 record on the season, the Lakers sit 13th with a sub-500 win percentage.

Matters could have been different had a foul been called when Tim Hardaway Jr appeared to have made contact with the shooting hand of Lakers small forward Troy Brown Jr during a three-point attempt with the scores tied at 101-101.

"It is what it is," Brown Jr told reporters. "At the end of the day, that's where I stand on it. I'm not deciding. At the end of the day, they're human.

"I thought there was contact, they don't call it. It is what it is. It's not my job to ref."

The Mavs were also unhappy with the officiating, with their owner Mark Cuban tweeting it had been the "worst officiated game". 

Luka Doncic will miss his fourth game of the season after being ruled out of Sunday's road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Doncic, who is leading the league in scoring at 34.0 points per game, has played in 37 of the Mavericks' 40 games this season. They are 23-14 in those 37 games and 0-3 when Doncic has not played.

He is officially listed as out due to left ankle soreness after putting up 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Saturday's win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

It has been yet another spectacular campaign for the 23-year-old Slovenian superstar, who has a Rookie of the Year and three All-NBA First Team selections from his first four seasons.

Doncic has taken yet another step forward on both ends, posting career highs in points, field goal percentage (49.9), three-point percentage (35.5), made free throws per game (8.4) and steals (1.6).

He will be joined on the sideline by Dorian Finney-Smith (adductor strain), Josh Green (elbow sprain) and Maxi Kleber (hamstring tear).

The Mavericks entered Sunday's action sitting fourth in the Western Conference, just 3.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets in first place.

LeBron James scored 37 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 points and 15 assists off the bench as the Los Angeles Lakers sneaked past the Sacramento Kings 136-134 on Saturday.

The win made it five straight victories for the Lakers, who were missing Anthony Davis (foot), as they improved to 19-21.

Dennis Schroder hit two free-throws with 3.1 seconds remaining before De'Aaron Fox missed a 43-foot attempt on the buzzer. Fox had squared the game up at 134-all with a 14-foot shot with 7.1 seconds remaining.

James' driving layup and one with 48 seconds left had earned the Lakers the lead which they never gave up.

The four-time NBA MVP scored 10 fourth-quarter points, shooting at 50 per cent for the game, finishing with eight rebounds and seven assists.

Schroder added 27 points with four-of-five from three-point range, while Thomas Bryant added 29 points and 14 rebounds.

Westbrook played 34 minutes, making a strong contribution, becoming only the second player to reach 20 points, five rebounds and 15 assists off the bench since starters were first tracked in 1970-71.

Fox scored 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field, with Domantas Sabonis having 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Doncic triple-double in Mavs win

Luka Doncic had his ninth triple-double of the season with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Pelicans 127-117.

Dallas raced to a 34-15 quarter-time lead with Christian Wood starring early to finish with 28 points, while exciting rookie Jaden Hardy scored 15 for the second straight time.

The Pels, playing without leading scorers Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and C.J. McCollum, were led by Jonas Valanciunas with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Tatum guides Celtics past Spurs

Jayson Tatum scored 34 points on 13-of-26 shooting as he lifted the Boston Celtics past the San Antonio Spurs 121-116.

Tatum scored a tiebreaking jumper with 33 seconds left, while Jaylen Brown added 29 points and Malcolm Brogdon contributed 23 off the bench.

The Spurs pushed the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics all game, with eight players scoring double digits for the home team, led by Zach Collins with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Jayson Tatum registered his second career triple-double as the Boston Celtics ended the Dallas Mavericks' seven-game winning streak with a 124-95 victory on Thursday.

Tatum finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists plus one steal and two blocks. The MVP candidate shot eight-of-22 from the field and two-of-eight from beyond the arc, scoring 11-of-12 from the stripe.

The Celtics improved to 27-12 with their merciless display, which comes amid a tough stretch for the Eastern Conference leaders, who had dropped seven of their past 12 games, including giving up 150 points last game to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Luka Doncic was kept to only 23 points for the Mavs, after a five-game run averaging 44.5 points. Doncic, who shot none-of-six from three-point range, was benched in the fourth quarter amid the blowout.

Tatum also struggled from beyond the arc, but Marcus Smart made up for it with four-of-nine triples in his 15 points, while Malcolm Brogdon hit three-of-five three-pointers in his 15 points off the bench.

Jaylen Brown scored 19 points with two three-pointers with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Nuggets rout Clippers despite Jokic being quiet

The Denver Nuggets re-claimed top spot in the Western Conference with a 122-91 domination of the Los Angeles Clippers, who slumped to their fourth straight defeat.

The Nuggets, who secured their 10th straight home win, prevailed without a great contribution from MVP Nikola Jokic, who managed 12 points with six rebounds and nine assists.

Jamal Murray top scored with 18 points, including four three-pointers for Denver, who led by as much as 43 points. The Clippers shuffled their deck ahead of a back-to-back with Kawhi Leonard scoring six points in 18 minutes.

The Nuggets lead the west with a 25-13 record ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies, also 25-13, who won 123-115 over the Orlando Magic with Ja Morant scoring 32 points.

Lauri's career-high ends Jazz's five-game skid

Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 49 points as the Utah Jazz snapped their five-game skid with a 131-114 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Markkanen posted 18 points in the first quarter on his way to the equal 15th highest single-game scoring performance this season.

The Finnish forward sparked a 14-0 fourth-quarter run which put the game to bed. Jalen Green scored 30 points for Houston, while Kevin Porter Jr added 23.

Jason Kidd hailed the "incredible" Luka Doncic for "bailing out" the Dallas Mavericks in their win over the San Antonio Spurs on New Year's Eve.

The Slovenian superstar had his third 50-point game of the season as the Mavericks held on for a 126-125 road win to close out 2022 on a high note.

Having led by 17 points, it was a frantic closing minute for Dallas with Doncic typically at the centre of the action.

Tre Jones intentionally missed the second of two free-throw attempts after being fouled by Mavs forward Davis Bertans, but Doncic himself purposely missed a couple with only 1.5 seconds remaining in order to prevent the Spurs from having an opportunity to make a game-winning play.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd was particularly impressed with that game management, saying: "Not easy to win here. 

"But, again, Luka was incredible. He bails us out again by missing the free throws. As much as he wanted to make those free throws down the stretch, [it was] so that they didn't have time to set up a play."

The records continue to rack up for Doncic, who had 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists when the Mavs defeated the New York Knicks in overtime on Tuesday.

His average of 35.1 points in the month of December represented the highest scoring average in any month in Dallas' franchise history, while he also became the first NBA player to have 250 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists in a five-game span.

"It's incredible," said teammate Christian Wood. "In my seven years in the league, I've never seen anybody do what he's able to do. He's on an incredible run. 

"He's playing like an MVP. Clearly one of the best players in the league."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had, tongue-in-cheek, said Doncic would be kept under the 50-point mark.

With a smile on his face Doncic said that was not fuel for the fire, adding: "No, I just wanted to get a win."

Popovich himself talked up his team's performance despite narrowly falling short against Doncic.

"Yeah, we had a good team effort and individual effort on him, but he's an amazing player," Popovich said. "His IQ is off the charts. 

"So, we would rather win than lose like everybody else in the world, but [I'm] really proud of their effort and the way they just kept going even after we got down whatever it was."

The Mavericks start 2023 fourth in the Western Conference with a 21-16 record and begin the new year against the lowly Houston Rockets on Monday.

By contrast, the Spurs (12-24) have the second-worst record in the conference. They face the Brooklyn Nets next time out.

Luka Doncic scored more than 50 points for the third time in his past five games to carry the Dallas Mavericks to a 126-125 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on New Year's Eve.

It was the sixth consecutive win for the Mavericks, which has coincided with a scintillating stretch of play from their Slovenian superstar.

Doncic scored 51 points against the Spurs on 18-of-29 shooting, adding nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. It came just four days after Doncic became the first player in NBA history to post a 60-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist game in a dramatic comeback against the New York Knicks.

The 23-year-old, who has a Rookie of the Year and three All-NBA First Team selections from his first four seasons, is mounting a charge for his first MVP, and has put together arguably the best five-game stretch of his career.

In his past five games, Doncic is averaging 45.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.2 assists, and in the process he has overtaken Joel Embiid in the race for the scoring title, now at 34.2 points per game for the season.

Christian Wood was strong in a supporting role against the Spurs, scoring 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting. In his eight appearances since finally being injected into the starting line-up, Wood is averaging 19.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 50.5 per cent from the field and 38.2 per cent from deep.

The Mavericks are now 21-16 and have jumped up to fourth place in the Western Conference.

Nets make it 11 in a row

The Brooklyn Nets remain the hottest team in the league after rattling off their 11th consecutive win, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 123-106.

Kyrie Irving led the way offensively with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while Kevin Durant was similarly efficient for his 23 points (nine-of-15). Defensively, Nic Claxton was the anchor, blocking six shots while also hitting six of his seven field goal attempts.

After starting the season 1-5, the Nets are now 24-12, and trail only the Boston Celtics (26-10) in the Eastern Conference.

Morant takes bragging rights in 2019 Draft showdown

The New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson over Ja Morant in the 2019 NBA Draft, and they received a glimpse at what could have been as Morant guided the Memphis Grizzlies to a 116-101 triumph.

Morant scored a game-high 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting, adding eight assists and two steals, while Wiliamson could only muster 20 points on six-of-16 shooting and a career-high nine turnovers.

Having only played in 18 of the Grizzlies' 34 games, Jaren Jackson Jr does not qualify for the official league leaderboards, but his six blocks against the Pelicans raised his average to 3.0, comfortably clear of league-leader Brook Lopez (2.6).

Luka Doncic is "playing like an MVP", according to his team-mate Christian Wood, after a second successive triple-double inspired the Dallas Mavericks to a 129-114 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Doncic had scored a franchise-best and NBA season-high 60 points two days earlier as the Mavericks beat the New York Knicks 126-121.

And although he did not hit quite the same heights at the American Airlines Center, the 23-year-old was still the Mavs' inspiration.

He finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists, his eighth triple-double of the season, as the Slovenian guard helped the Mavs to a fifth straight win that improves them to 20-16.

Doncic shot 11-of-21 from the field against the Rockets, including four-of-nine from beyond the arc, making nine-of-12 free-throws, with his collective 95 points across the past two games an NBA record in consecutive triple-doubles.

Despite the obvious heroics of Doncic, there has been a particular focus on the collective for the Mavs – though Wood could not resist giving his colleague a little praise.

"We're just playing together," former Rockets forward Wood said.

"If you look at the last game [against the Knicks], we stayed together even though everybody probably thought we were going to lose.

"Today we stayed together, everybody was moving the ball and even the games before that we were piggy-backing off each other, playing off each other and it's really working out.

"Also, Luka's playing like an MVP."

Undoubtedly Doncic's brilliance proved telling once again against the Rockets, but Mavs coach Jason Kidd had previously demanded more support for their talisman.

Only three players scored 15 points or more in the defeat of the Knicks, but this time Doncic was one of five to do so, with Tim Hardaway Jr. (18), Wood (21), Spencer Dinwiddie (15) and Dwight Powell (19) all chipping in.

Understandably, Kidd was pleased by such a reaction.

"I did ask a couple of players that we needed to step up and not wait for Luka, and they responded," Kidd said.

"We talked about it before the game and they understand the time or the stress we put on Luka.

"So, we needed some guys to be able to get some easy baskets and take that stress off of him and they did that tonight."

Luka Doncic maintained his dynamite form with another triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks improved to 20-16 with a 129-114 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Doncic, who scored a franchise-best and season-high 60 points two nights earlier, recorded his eighth triple double of the season, finishing with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists.

The Slovenian guard led the Mavs to their fifth straight win, notching up a second straight triple-double for the second time this season. Doncic's collective 95 points across the past two games is an NBA-record in consecutive triple-doubles.

Doncic shot 11-of-21 from the field, including four-of-nine from beyond the arc, making nine-of-12 free-throws.

Ex-Rockets forward Christian Wood offered good support with 21 points, including five-of-eight three-pointers, six rebounds and four blocks, along with Dwight Powell, who added a season-high 19 points with six rebounds and two blocks off the bench.

The Rockets, who are 10-25 and have lost seven of their past eight games, had few answers as they fell behind 65-51 at half-time with a Doncic 35-foot buzzer beater, with Jalen Green top scoring with 23 points.

Celtics avenge Clippers' blowout

The Boston Celtics avenged their heavy loss to the Los Angeles Clippers three weeks ago with a 116-110 victory led by 29 points each from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

The NBA-best Celtics (26-10) had suffered their worst loss of the season at the hands of the Clippers earlier this month, losing 113-93, starting off a run where they lost five of six games.

Tatum had 11 rebounds to go with his 29 points, shooting 10-of-26 from the field, while Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points with eight rebounds for the Clippers.

Hield makes history in Pacers' win

Buddy Hield made history with the fastest three-pointer recorded since play-by-play began in 1996-97 as the Indiana Pacers downed the Cleveland Cavaliers 135-126.

Hield, who leads the league in three-pointers made this season, swished a shot just three seconds into the game. The Pacers made 19-of-31 from beyond the arc for the game, rallying from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Tyrese Haliburton top scored with 29 points, including six-of-eight three-point shooting, while Hield made six triples in his 25 points. Donovan Mitchell had 28 points and six assists for the Cavs.

Luka Doncic earned plaudits from the great and the good of the NBA after recording the league's first 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double.

Doncic improbably led the Dallas Mavericks to an overtime win against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, requiring an historic performance to overturn a big late deficit.

The Knicks were up by nine points in the final 35 seconds, but Doncic brought the Mavs back, tying the game with a second to play after sensationally seizing the rebound from his own missed free throw.

In OT, the 23-year-old moved to another level entirely – not just for his career but for the NBA as a whole.

No player had previously had 60 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the same game; indeed, since Wilt Chamberlain retired in 1973, no player had achieved each of those three statistics in separate games across a single season.

Doncic finished with 60, 21 and 10, prompting Mavs owner Mark Cuban to post on Twitter: "We are watching greatness @luka7doncic. I've never seen anything like that ever."

"The history of the game is written by the players, and it was written again tonight," said coach Jason Kidd.

Kristaps Porzingis, Doncic's former Dallas team-mate, wrote: "60/20/10?? This guy is not normal."

It was not just those with connections to the Mavs who were marvelling at the record-setting Slovenian, however.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau rued coming up against a "monster player", while former MVP Kevin Garnett referenced the recent unveiling of a Dirk Nowitzki statue in Dallas as he said: "It'll be another statue in Dallas... Luka is like that!"

Paul Pierce, Garnett's team-mate on the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, added: "Luka is the best offensive player in the league. I said offensive. Think about it."

Nets superstar Kevin Durant compared Doncic's display to the sort you might see on NBA 2K: "That was a MyCareer type performance from Luka tonight. Some video game s***."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.