Luka Doncic, Mavs finally break decade-long dry spell en route to historic night
Goodness. That No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft looks sweeter by the hour, doesn’t it? Dallas Mavericks fans definitely don’t regret the selection.
Friday night’s 110-90 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers had Luka Doncic’s hands all over it, as he scored 24 points on 8-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds — becoming the fastest current player to accumulate 5,000 career points.
But personal accolades aside, it was a marquee moment for the Dallas Mavericks and their coach, Rick Carlisle, who saw history made with the critical win.
With the win, the Mavs clinched the fourth division title in the franchise's 41 season-history — and Rick Carlisle surpassed Cotton Fitzsimmons as the 15th-winningest coach (833 victories) in NBA history.
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) May 8, 2021
The Mavericks? Only four division titles? With Dirk Nowitzki in tow from 1994-2019? Yep, courtesy of divisional dominance from the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets.
“Before Friday, the only division titles in franchise history came in 1986-87, 2006-2007 and 2009-10,” Townsend writes. “That’s the downside of playing in the same division as San Antonio, which has won 20 titles since 1980, and Houston, which has won seven titles during that duration.”
Doncic wasn’t the sole reason the Mavs won on Friday, as Tim Hardaway Jr. (20 points) and Josh Richardson (18 points) each poured in double figures.
But there’s no doubt Doncic has been the driving force galvanizing these Mavs, who are now winners of three straight, 39-28 and the current No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. They’ve got a half-game lead on the sputtering, unhealthy Los Angeles Lakers, and are currently poised to avoid the play-in tournament for seeds No. 7-10 at the end of the month.
Over the last five games, the Mavericks are 4-1 with wins over Washington, Miami, Brooklyn and Cleveland, and Doncic averaged 26.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 46.5% shooting from the floor, 31.7% from the arc and 65.9% from the stripe in the stretch.