The latest star turn for the 20-year-old came in Saturday's 141-121 win over the Golden State Warriors, as the Mavericks phenom racked up his ninth triple-double of the season on a night when he and his teammates set a franchise record with 24 3-pointers.
"Doncic was amazing tonight, absolutely amazing," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "[He had] a 30-point triple-double in three quarters -- and really made it look easy. That's a phenomenal performance, and he set the table for everybody that was out there."
After the teams roared out to a 41-41 tie to close the first quarter, it was Doncic and the Mavericks' high-powered offense that set the tone for the remainder of the contest and eventually closed things down.
Doncic finished with 31 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds. He now has more triple-doubles (nine) than he had all of last season (eight). Doncic tied Jason Kidd's franchise record for most triple-doubles in a season after just 26 games so far in this campaign.
Doncic's performance occurred on a night when the intensity between the teams was ramped up -- right from the beginning. The Warriors came into the game on a season-high, four-game winning streak, and they had plenty of momentum early, as guard D'Angelo Russell scored 12 points in the first 1:57 of the game.
Carlisle opened his postgame news conference praising Russell, who finished with a game-high 35 points.
"I've never seen a guy score 12 points in two minutes," Carlisle said of Russell.
Russell, who was 13-for-21 from the field, also provided the scariest moment midway through the third quarter when he went to pick up a loose ball on the floor and ended up running face-first into Doncic's hip. Russell remained face down on the floor for a few minutes as the Warriors medical staff checked on him. A stretcher was rolled out to the floor, but Russell got up under his own power and walked slowly into the locker room. Russell returned in the fourth quarter, but he acknowledged afterward having been scared for a few moments following the fall.
"I'm good," Russell said. "I'm good. It's part of the game, obviously injuries are part of the game. Thank God it wasn't nothing too serious, just a little shoulder contusion. The contact, hard contact -- kind of knocked the wind out of me, but I'm good now."
After the rapid scoring at the outset, the teams exchanged some heated words as tempers flared. Warriors forward Draymond Green and Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis had words throughout the first half, ultimately resulting in each player receiving a technical foul in the second quarter.
"He likes talking," Porzingis said of Green. "He likes to get the crowd into it, and they did a good job of that. And I should have been a little bit smarter -- even when Klay [Thompson] talking to me and stuff. They really got the crowd into it in that moment, so I realized, 'OK, I got to shut up now.'
"But it was a fun game, and I'm glad that we got the win."
Green, who noted Friday after his squad's home victory against the Phoenix Suns that he'd had an epiphany last week the Warriors would win five in a row, said he loved seeing injured swingman Thompson get so pumped up on the bench after the exchange with Porzingis.
"I don't think I enjoy many things more in life than when Klay gets into it with somebody," Green said. "That's always a treat. So that was fun to see."
As for the epiphany, Green started his own news conference by admitting it didn't come to fruition.
"All right, so my epiphany was off just a little bit," he said.
In the third quarter on Saturday, Warriors big man Marquese Chriss got a technical foul for shoving Doncic to the floor. As officials reviewed the play, Chriss received high-fives from Green and other teammates on the bench.
"Just physical plays," Doncic said of the exchange. "That happens in basketball a lot, so just move on."
Porzingis was impressed by Doncic's ability not to fight back with Chriss.
"I think Luka's pretty cool in that sense," Porzingis said. "When he needs to be cool, he's cool. In that moment, he didn't react to it. [Doncic] got the tech for them. That was great on his part, 20 years old, he didn't really react to it, so maybe I can learn from him a little bit."
From his vantage, Carlisle was just happy to see his team continue to claw its way to another victory against a feisty Warriors group that came in playing its best basketball of the season.
"This is a place where the building is wild," Carlisle said. "People that didn't think that the downtown crowd was going to be as wild as the Oakland crowd, I don't see a difference. They're into it. And it got to be a snippy game, really both ways. I'm not pointing fingers at them. It got to be that way straight across the board. And we're a young team trying to do exceptional things; we needed an experience like this tonight.
"We've gone through a lot in the last week, a lot of different polarizing situations. This is every bit as polarizing as anything we've seen, in the first half. But at halftime, the guys did a great job. We talked through some situations defensively and came out with some real resolve, and that's the key to the whole thing."
One of the reasons the atmosphere has been so wild in the Bay Area over the past decade, whether it was in Oracle Arena or the new Chase Center, is because of the play of Warriors guard Stephen Curry. The former MVP was in the new building on Saturday as he continues to rehab from a broken hand, but Doncic demurred when the topic of a potential comparison between himself and Curry came up.
"He's shooting way better than me," Doncic said. "He's a better player. He's been in the league a long time, he's somebody that everybody looks up [to], everybody wants to play like him. I remember last year after the draft, I practiced once with him, and it was crazy. He couldn't miss. He can't miss. And that was like something I'll always remember -- practice with him."