Whenever Luka Doncic and Trae Young square up, you can guarantee yourself an entertainer. Each one of their four career head-to-heads duels, including this one in Dallas - the second of their two matchups this season, have been decided by single digits.
Both young superstars stuffed the stat sheet in their own ways as the Mavericks played defence on the final possession to hold on for the 118-117 win.
Six Dallas players scored in double figures in the win. Jalen Brunson recorded a season-high with 21, of which 11 came in the fourth quarter. For the Hawks, four players scored in double digits as John Collins continued his great scoring run against the Mavericks by putting up 33 points on 13-of-18 shooting from the field.
Fresh off their duel just over a week back, both franchise cornerstones didn't have a great shooting night from distance but had productive all-round stat lines anyway.
Doncic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season, finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks, and a steal. He only shot 2-of-7 on his 3-pointers but there was no shortage of highlight plays from the Slovenian.
Spin cycle 🌀@luka7doncic | #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/tEW6dF3yBf- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 11, 2021
Do you believe in @luka7doncic magic? 🔮- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 11, 2021
💫 RT TO VOTE 💫#NBAAllStar | @AcmeBrick pic.twitter.com/Uv5zNXaq8p
Meanwhile Young recorded his 11th point-assist double-double of the season with 25 points and 15 assists, one shy of his season-high. He also pulled down seven rebounds to go along with one steal and one block
As he has for nearly all of his young career, some of his dimes had our jaws on the floor.
Right through the wickets. @TheTraeYoung x #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/1jhfuL2llQ- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 11, 2021
Too much sauce. pic.twitter.com/04Qd2GnwqI- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 11, 2021
With their performances, both point guards are right up there amongst the greatest.
Most games with 25+ points & 10+ assists before turning 23 in NBA history:- CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 11, 2021
Oscar Robertson 43
Trae Young 40
Luka Doncic 38
LeBron James 28 pic.twitter.com/jvfsq35Jvq
Mavericks' uncharacteristic 4th Q sparks win
Coming into this game, the Mavericks ranked dead-last in 3-point efficiency at 33.8% but their long-range shooting in this game was different, especially in the fourth quarter.
They shot 7-of-9 from beyond the arc in the final period as they outscored the Hawks 37-27. Their fourth-quarter revival began with an early burst from Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 10 of the team's first 13 points in the period including a personal 7-0 run.
Walking bucket in the 4th 🪣 pic.twitter.com/heKZKNe1O2- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 11, 2021
In the first seven minutes of the final quarter, the Mavericks played spectacular basketball on both ends. They went on a 26-11 run, turning a nine-point deficit (90-81), at the beginning of the quarter, into a six-point lead (107-101).
However, Young led the Hawks to ensure the game stayed close, and then, Dallas capped off the win with some defence (Note: Prior to this game, their defensive rating ranked in the bottom five of the league).
Trae Young was upset about not getting the foul call on the game's last possession. pic.twitter.com/ul4IZX1zwa- ESPN (@espn) February 11, 2021
It's not just strange to see the Mavericks win a game with a defensive stop on the final possession but to register a win in the clutch is huge, something that's been a rarity for the team - having lost 23 games over the last two season by five points or lesser, the most in the NBA.
Can Dallas keep up this mini-revival?
Since losing nine in 11 games, the Mavericks have won four of their last five - a turnaround that began just over a week earlier in Atlanta. Can they keep this momentum going? Playing five of their next six at home, they have some winnable games up ahead - shorthanded Trail Blazers, Pistons (worst record in the league), and Grizzlies (lost four of their last five).
On the other hand, the Hawks' up-and-down season continues. With this loss, which is their fourth in the last five games, they haven't won consecutive games since Jan. 23. They head back home to play the Spurs in a couple of days.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.