An early February matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks wouldn’t have been a marquee matchup for pretty much the entire existence of those two franchises. But now, their meetings are must-see TV, and it’s all because of their young stars: Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
Traded for each other on draft night in 2018, the two will always be connected, and they’re continuing to make history on the court. Through the first two-plus seasons, that draft class had registered 131 30-point games. Doncic and Young were responsible for 91 of them.
Neither quite reached the 30-point mark on Wednesday night, but their latest chapter didn’t disappoint, as Doncic led the Mavericks on a fourth-quarter comeback to take down Young’s Hawks, 118-117. Things ended in a somewhat ugly fashion, with an irate Young screaming at an official after he didn’t get a call on the Hawks’ attempted game-winning play. Hopefully, that won’t overshadow what was an exciting game that featured strong performances from both Young and Doncic.
Doncic finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to record his 32nd career-triple double — only Oscar Robertson had more before the age of 23 — and was huge down the stretch as the Mavs came back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Once he checked in with eight minutes left to play in the game, Doncic either scored or assisted on two-thirds of Dallas’ made baskets.
Young, meanwhile, didn’t have his best shooting night, going 8-for-22 from the field, but he still finished with 25 points and made up for the inefficiency by crashing the glass for seven rebounds and dishing out 15 assists — the fourth time in the last six games that he had at least 13 assists.
Unless these two teams somehow meet in the Finals, that’s the last time Doncic and Young will meet on the court until next season. But whenever that happens, you know we’ll be watching.