The 2022-23 NBA season is still in its infancy, but Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has emerged as an MVP frontrunner. Right behind him in the race for the coveted award is Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who has helped propel his team to a league-best 13-4 record. Tatum and Doncic square off Wednesday night in Beantown, and Doncic had lots of love for his fellow MVP candidate ahead of the East-West matchup.
Doncic’s admiration didn’t end with Tatum, though, as he also praised All-Star guard Jaylen Brown and the Celtics as a whole.
“They’re probably the No. 1 team in the league, and they probably have the best duo in the league, too,” Luka Doncic said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “And we’re in the Garden — it’s always a special game. You have to come 100 percent. If you’re not, you’re probably going to lose. It’s a big game.”
After Boston’s magical run to the NBA Finals last year, its star tandem of Brown and Tatum garnered a lot of respect from across the NBA. While Doncic failed to lead his Mavs to the Finals in 2021-22, he has been a big part of Dallas’ recent domination of the C’s. The Mavs hold a four-game win streak against the Celtics, as Boston failed to best Doncic and company in their two matchups last season.
Additionally, in the seven total games Doncic has played against the C’s, he has put up spectacular numbers. For his career, the Slovenian star has averaged 27.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game versus Boston. And to top it off, he even had a clutch game-winner at home to beat the Green Team last year:
Luka Doncic bigtime game-winner at the buzzer tonight as Mavs beat Celtics: pic.twitter.com/XArWS6jR0G
— Inside Hoops (@InsideHoops) November 7, 2021
This season, Dallas hasn’t quite found its groove yet after reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2021-22, even despite Luka Doncic’s dominance. The Mavs stand at 9-7 and will need some Luka magic to overcome the red-hot C’s.
While Boston may be coming back to earth a bit after a disappointing loss to Chicago, it still owns the best record in the NBA. If Tatum — who suffered a slight ankle injury versus the Bulls — is cleared to play, expect Boston’s offense to be as formidable as it has been all season.
Hopefully, we’ll get to see the two elite stars duel it out and get a better idea of who the true MVP favorite is.