TRENDING: Maverick star turns 25 and hammered the Raptors in an Unforgettable way

Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said after Doncic’s clinical triple-double at Scotiabank Arena: “Basketball-wise, there is nothing that he doesn’t have.”

Jazz 100-103 Mavericks: Luka Doncic is already better than Michael Jordan,  a stat he'll be on top of forever | Marca

 

Luka Doncic ambles rather than dashes, and it’s tough to argue that he’s the chiseled, athletic NBA template who will lead the sport into the next age.

He turned 25 on Wednesday—some argue he’s 35—and all he does is play the game like a master. If someone misses it, they are missing out on something truly spectacular.

Doncic hammered the Raptors with 30 points, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds on his birthday, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 136-125 victory at Scotiabank Arena in an understated display of brilliance.

“I don’t know, I feel like 40, so …” Doncic spoke about the milestone. “A lot of games, a lot of minutes, a lot of professional basketball.”

A lot of very wonderful stuff.

“It’s at his pace, and on his terms,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said of Doncic. “Very athletic and speedy players often try to do too much. He excels in reading angles and timing. “He plays off two feet and uses all those shot fakes.”

Rajakovic was not surprised, having witnessed Doncic’s bizarre antics on numerous occasions.

“There is nothing Luka doesn’t have in his bag, and he can’t improve,” Rajakovic said ahead of the game. “The only way he can improve is to gain three inches in height and strength. In terms of basketball, he has nothing.

The Raptors were not going to make things easy for him. They used a lot of double-team defense on Doncic to force him to give up the ball, and they were fine with forcing others to make shots and plays as long as he didn’t have an outstanding game.

But here’s the funny thing. He continued to tear them up in every way possible, setting up teammates for open shot after open shot. Perhaps he did not have 50 points or 30 assists to make.

“Just a normal game,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd explained. “Triple-double, he was excellent. I believe 25 indicates he’ll still be really good when he gets older here.”

The Raptors weren’t particularly poor. They had 34 assists, six guys scored in double digits, and they played hard throughout the game. Scottie Barnes had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Immanuel Quickley scored 28 points, and RJ Barrett contributed 26. It just wasn’t enough since Doncic controlled the game when he was on the court, and Kyrie Irving was hardly a second act with 29 points.

The Raptors were fine.

“Obviously, I don’t think we did an adequate job of protecting the paint tonight. “We allowed them far too many offensive rebounds,” Rajakovic remarked. “On a few of occasions, we missed layups and wide-open jumpers, resulting in easy points in transition on the opposite end. We couldn’t get enough to get over that hurdle.

“To be honest, we had 34 assists tonight, but they didn’t feel like 34. I also didn’t like our attacking ball movement and enthusiasm.

The Mavs were on a different level for the majority of the night. Every pass was accurate. Every Doncic move worked.

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