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Luka Doncic does mean things in Minnesota

Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Luka Doncic entered the fourth quarter in Target Center looking to be one of the two youngest players to ever record a triple-double.

Doncic ultimately fell two rebounds short of the mark. So he decided to capture the souls of the Minnesota Timberwolves instead.

The third overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, Doncic finished a 119-115 Dallas win with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists, and two steals. Most impressively, he got buckets after the Mavericks blew a lead that was as large as 14 points in the first half and ten points with 5:50 left in the final quarter.

A 16-5 Minnesota run evaporated Dallas’ lead, with Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns scoring ten of those points and Minnesota scoring on ten straight possessions after falling behind 105-95.

After Towns made a go-ahead hook with 1:41 left in the fourth quarter, Doncic went to work. It started with a pick and roll with center DeAndre Jordan that allowed Doncic to get downhill and convert on a floater over Towns, giving Dallas a 112-111 lead with 1:28 left in the fourth. Minnesota regained the lead after a floater from point guard Jeff Teague, but then Doncic used another screen from Jordan to dunk all over Minnesota’s frontcourt.

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With less than 1:00 left in regulation, Luka Doncic crushes a dunk and hangs on the rim.

Of course, that wasn’t enough. Teague missed another floater, but Minnesota power forward Taj Gibson tipped the miss in to force a Dallas timeout with 35.7 seconds left and the Timberwolves leading 115-114.

Gibson then stole Doncic’s pass out of the timeout, but Minnesota rookie Josh Okogie turned the ball right back over. With no timeouts remaining and down one, Doncic pulled up with 18 seconds left on the shot clock and launched a 28-foot 3 with Towns running out to contest. Never mind the fact that Doncic had missed seven of his previous eight threes. This one was good, and it represented the last lead change of the game.

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Luka Doncic sinks a 3-pointer to give the Mavericks a 3-point lead over the Timberwolves with roughly 20 seconds to go.

Minnesota would turn the ball over coming out of a timeout, and Dallas small forward Harrison Barnes iced the game from there to secure what was only the fourth road win of the season for Dallas. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the last rookie with 3 go-ahead field goals in the final 2 minutes of regulation before Doncic was Vince Carter against the Indiana Pacers on April 1, 1999. Doncic has made a habit of being clutch late, with the second-best high-volume clutch field goal percentage in the league.

Doncic keeps adding to his eye-opening rookie performances. He is the sixth rookie since the 1976 ABA-NBA merger with 29 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds in a game, joining Michael Jordan (twice), Kevin Johnson, Steve Francis, Stephen Curry (twice), and Victor Oladipo, according to Elias. He is the youngest player with at least 25 points and 10 assists since LeBron James in 2004, according to ESPN Stats and Information. And he continues to gain acclaim from his peers.

Doncic’s next opportunity to ball out will be at home against the Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks will need Doncic to keep leading them to wins, as the Mavericks are still two games under .500 at 20-22. the same record as Minnesota and New Orleans in a wide-open Western Conference.

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