There is something cruel in every game that Luka Doncic masters against the Sacramento Kings. Californians had the second pick in the 2018 draft and traveled multiple times to see him in person during his final year with Real Madrid. Three weeks before the draft, they appeared in Madrid with the staff, including general manager Vlade Divac, and franchise owner Indian billionaire Vivek Ranadive. It was in the Endesa League semifinals, on the way to his last white title. "They all came, so I thought they were going to choose me."

Sacramento had also been one of the teams with the largest delegation in the Euroleague Final Four. But the Kings, masters of tripping, chose Marvin Bagley. There is still no day that they don't remember, especially when they play against Dallas. Bagley, who is injured again, has only been able to play 13 games this season. And Doncic, who aspires to the Ideal Quintet of the Year in his second season, decided for the Mavs with a great game: 34 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists (110-114).

Doncic is the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1976) to sign those numbers. Before, only Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Elgin Baylor did it. He is also the youngest in history to triple-double with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds. And all that kind of statistics and ephemeris that populate North American sports and that only result in one thing: the Slovenian base is a generational talent.

Altogether it was not a memorable match, no. "I think we have played one of our worst games and we have won. We have not played well, but we have endured there," Doncic himself acknowledged. "I am proud of this victory," he said. Perhaps because it was very necessary after two defeats that had accentuated the biggest problem of these Mavericks: that they do not manage to close games that they should have controlled.

Dallas had only won 5 of 23 games with a tight finish and Doncic has not always been an outsider. As the course progresses, the Slovenian seems to end the fairer duels of gasoline. Although he starts dominating, he ends up attacking the rim less, suffering to take advantage, or falling for the quickest solution. And the extremely efficient Mavericks attack becomes predictable.

According to, Doncic hasn't had any of the 10 shots he's had this season to tie or put his team ahead in the last minute. But against the Kings, despite going somewhat passive in the fourth quarter, he responded at key moments, also on defense, and decided in overtime. His basket less than two minutes from the end of overtime gave the Mavs an advantage they would no longer let go.

The Kings, who will continue to be the team that has been the longest without making the playoffs (14 years, one of the all-time record), perhaps ended the night remembering again that time they let Doncic pass.

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