Luka Doncic made NBA history by recording the league’s first triple-double outside of the USA or Canada as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Detroit Pistons in Mexico City.
Doncic recorded his 16th triple-double of the season, scoring 41 points to lead the Mavs to a 122-111 win over the Pistons on Thursday.
Doncic began the night by mesmerising a sellout crowd with his fluency in Spanish, welcoming them to the NBA’s travelling extravaganza, and ended it by enchanting them with a more universal language understood by all but spoken by few.
Doncic put on an MVP-worthy performance, setting an NBA scoring record for games held south of the USA border with 41 points and completing his triple-double with 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
“Doncic was spectacular,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
“We were trying to get the ball out of Doncic’s hands, which is very difficult to do,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “He sees the whole floor. I thought he picked us apart.”
The Mexican crowd whooped and hollered through a wildly entertaining first half in which the Mavs launched 26 triples and the Pistons threw down five dunks, three from Christian Wood off of the bench.
Doncic’s impact on the game was felt equally whether he was in or out of the Dallas line-up. After the first half ended with the teams swapping 14-0 runs, Dallas carried the momentum of their closing run over to the third quarter. By the time Doncic went to the bench with 2:41 left in the quarter, the Mavericks had expanded their seven-point half-time edge to 24.
By the time the quarter ended, the Pistons had shaved 14 points off of their deficit against the Doncic-less Mavs line-up. Much of that was made up by Derrick Rose, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the third quarter after entering with eight minutes to play.
Dallas treaded water with Doncic on the bench to start the fourth quarter – the Pistons got it to nine at one point, but no closer – and then back-to-back possessions that resulted in triples from Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson closed the door on a Pistons comeback.
“Playing out here was incredible,” Detroit center Andre Drummond said after his 23-point, 15-rebound night. “The atmosphere was outstanding. It was like every play was a playoff atmosphere, chanting and yelling. I loved playing here and I’d love to come back.”
“I thought the crowd was tremendous,” Carlisle said. “The crowd was rooting for both teams, which was great to see. It was great sportsmanship. This is our second time in Mexico City. We enjoyed it just as much as the first time and had a great experience here.”
It was an experience enhanced, no doubt, by being the coach who could not just admire but enjoy Doncic’s brilliance.
Click the video at the top of the page to watch Doncic’s best plays from his 41-point triple-double
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