The surroundings of the WiZink were a hotbed of Doncicmania, an invasion of shirts of the visiting team, a blue tide with the 77 on the back. It had been five years since Luka Doncic's last time at the Palace and the distance had only increased the mutual feeling of longing. The pride of Real Madrid to see that blond boy who came to his quarry with 12 years dominate the NBA. The love of the Slovenian shown not only based on tweets and winks: he, with the support of his president Mark Cuban, was the one who made possible the visit of the Mavericks to Madrid.

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The NBA falls in love with the new Bernabéu: "We will tell Florentino Pérez to organize an official game here"

  • Writing: LUCAS SÁEZ-BRAVO Madrid

The NBA falls in love with the new Bernabéu: "We will tell Florentino Pérez to organize an official game here"

"I don't know what to say, it's a special day. Thank you all very much," Doncic said in the middle of the court. He was always more about expressing himself on the court than with words, but his glassy eyes showed the emotion of the moment. In those moments before the game, he himself already knew that the party was not going to be complete. A strain in his left calf – as witnessed by a bulky bandage – was going to prevent him from playing normally. "No more than five minutes," the Mavericks said. Any other night I wouldn't have tried. "I have insisted to play. I can't let people not see me tonight," he admitted on television.

Florentino Pérez, recovered from covid, presented him with the club's gold and brilliant badge. At the end of the first quarter, Felipe Reyes entertained him with a replica of the Euroleague, unforgettable that Final Four in Belgrade of which Doncic was MVP. No wonder, few ambassadors like Luka will ever have Madrid. In the morning he had promised that, if he would ever return to Europe, he would be "100%" to Real Madrid. And at night, half lame, holder, he left a few minutes of magic based on triples, dancing and smiling with his friend Sergio Llull, who welcomed him with three in a row. Later he also formed a couple with Rudy Fernández, nothing left to chance, his two teachers in front, snapshots forever with the crème de la crème in the front row: Bodiroga, Antonio Martín, Jorge Garbajosa, Toni Kross, Courtois ...

Doncic, with Florentino Pérez.JAVIER SORIANOAFP

It was the ninth time that Real Madrid faced an NBA team, 35 years after that initiatory visit of Larry Bird's Celtics. Seven years ago, the last time, the Thunder were defeated in overtime, as in 2007 the Raptors, dazzled by the first magic tricks of a certain Llull, himself who years later would dare to reject his offer. Obviously, beyond the show, the competitiveness was not going to be extreme. The Whites travel today to Istanbul, where on Thursday they will face Efes in the second round of the Euroleague. Those of Jason Kidd, with Kyrie Irving dressed in street clothes on the bench, come directly from Abu Dhabi, where they have already played two exhibition duels. Their preseason is still in its infancy and they did not go out of their way to avoid the final avalanche of their rival.

The first half, which dawned with a three-pointer contest, was even. But in the rotations the Texas team became strong, which went to the break ahead, with 18 points from Tim Hardaway while Doncic already watched sitting next to Jason Kidd, with his sweatshirt on and non-stop joking with his former teammates.

In Madrid Tavares returned and their exciting academy players Ndiaye, Diagne and Hugo González had minutes again. But those who took it personally were Llull and, above all, Poirier (19 points). Still, the NBA pace didn't let him get into the battle until the end. Before the end of the third quarter the Mavericks were already close to 100 points. The last rush of Campazzo, with the substitutes of the substitutes in the visitors, led to an exciting end and a comeback brand of the house: Madrid did not let escape the notch of another triumph against an NBA team (127-123).

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