Soon the NBA All Star Game is coming (next March 7), and although the King of the league (LeBron James) said that he does not agree with the realization of the All-Star Game in this context of pandemic, the truth is that for all players it is a recognition. There are even usually bonuses in the contracts for being chosen for that special match. On Saturday night, Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokic did great things to earn a spot among the 10 starters.
The first two faced each other and, despite the difficulties that the Dallas Mavericks has been going through this season, there was a victory over Golden State 134 to 132. The highlight was that, of the 266 points of the game, between Luka and Steph they scored 99.
The point guards produced a tremendous personal duel that ended with 57 points for the American and 42 for the Slovenian. In Curry’s case, it was the second highest score of his career, surpassed only by the 62 he made for Portland about a month ago.
The two-time NBA MVP added two rebounds and five assists to his scoring figure, achieved thanks to making 19 of 31 shots from the court with 11 of 19 triples, and 8 of 8 free.
Steph Curry and a great match against Luka Doncic
The Warriors point guard scored 57 points
As for Doncic, his 42 (product of 12-13 shots from the court, 7 triples and 11-14 free) equaled his personal best. He also had 11 assists and 7 rebounds, although he lost 7 balls.
Although in the personal duel Curry tipped the balance in his favor, it was not enough to stay with the game and the Mavericks breathed after six consecutive defeats at their stadium, the worst streak in the 13 seasons that Rick Carlisle has as coach.
The coach was one of those who distributed praise for the two stars who were measured permanently. “What a display of basketball,” he said. “There were incredible plays and shots all night, Curry and Doncic were spectacular. It’s a great thing to see.”
On the other side of the substitute benches, Steve Kerr gave high-caliber words to his manager, who is taking over the team’s season almost exclusively with Klay Thompson out of it again (he broke an Achilles tendon before starting the tournament) and with a Kelly Oubre who until his explosion days ago (with 40 points) had been playing a terrible championship.
“He has never played better,” said the Warriors coach, who remarked: “I have never seen him like this. Obviously, he has always been an incredible shooter. He looks stronger. It is almost unfathomable what he is doing.” If he says so …
Doncic himself surrendered at the feet of his rival: “Every time I pulled, I felt like I was going to go in. It’s impressive, I haven’t seen anything like it. Even Maximilian Kleber, the Slovenian’s teammate in Dallas and a key man with a touchdown in the final moments of the game, highlighted Curry: “They are both incredible players and had an exceptional game. Especially Steph, who really hit everything.”
Jokic, for the MVP
With a relatively new team, at least in the replacement zone, an area no less for any squad that wants to aspire to the title as the Denver Nuggets did last season, Nikola Jokic is forced to come out and show his face for yours. Kind of like what Steph Curry is doing on the Warriors.
Saturday night brought them a different fate, because the Serbian also reached the 50 barrier (he scored precisely that amount) but having established the maximum of his career did not help him to avoid the defeat against the Sacramento Kings 119 to 114.
The pivot came from his best individual record in the previous game, with 46 against the Lakers, and surpassed it, but the team fell for the third time in a row.
Without Jamal Murray, with discomfort in his left knee, Facundo Campazzo’s team (also absent for the same reason but on the right) once again depended too much on his European figure, who despite the lack of accompaniment continues to show a very high level.
Jokic added 12 assists that made him the first center to record 50 points and more than 10 “goal passes” in the past 40 years. He is almost alone responsible for the Nuggets finishing sixth in the Western conference and having a favorable balance (12 wins and 10 losses). His ancestry and the way he shouldered the team undoubtedly put him among one of the top contenders for the season’s MVP award.
The Joker o Doncic could be the third European to conquer it, after the German Dirk Nowitzki (2007) and the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, current double monarch having won it in 2019 and 2020. Curry, winner in 2015 and 2016 and the only one to have been chosen properly unanimous (all second prize votes went to him), he seeks to match Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Moses Malone with three accolades.