Watch Luka Doncic score 73 points, tied for fourth most in NBA history, as Mavericks beat Hawks

Dallas Mavericks x Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta (AFP) – Dallas coach Jason Kidd had no concerns about Luke Doncic's scoring chaos upsetting the Mavericks' game plan.

“He's the game plan,” Kidd said.

On a record night, the plan was a success.

Doncic scored a record 73 points, ranking fourth in the history of the NBA, surpassed only by Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant, to lead the Mavericks to a 148-143 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday evening.

Doncic surpassed his best and scored a team-high 60 points after scoring a team-record 41 points in the first half.

His record-breaking night came just four days after Philadelphia's Joel Embiid scored a record 70 points, then the most in the NBA this season, in the 76ers' 133-123 win over San Antonio on Monday night.

Through it all, Doncic continued to look out for his teammates and contribute more than one point. He grabbed 10 rebounds, a game-high, and led the Mavericks with seven assists.

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“The three passes are what he probably thinks about in the locker room to get a triple-double,” Kidd said.

Doncic insisted the win was the biggest cause for celebration after overcoming constant extra attention from Atlanta's defence.

“You have to keep playing and trust your teammates,” Doncic said.

A three-point play with 2:58 remaining gave Doncic 70 points. With Dallas leading 140-136, Doncic added another triple to cap off his night.

Against the team that drafted him in 2018, Doncic joined Chamberlain and David Thompson among players who scored 73 points. Chamberlain, who holds the NBA record with 100 points, scored 78 points, while Bryant finished with 81 points.

“These names are special,” Doncic said. “It's unbelievable.”

Doncic's teammates doused him with water in the locker room, while cheers could be heard from the hallway.

The Mavericks took advantage of Doncic's big game to end their three-game losing streak while the Hawks suffered their fourth straight loss. Doncic made 25 of 33 shots from the field, 8 of 13 3-pointers and 15 of 16 free throws. The field goals made set another personal record.

It was hot. “He was leaving,” said Trae Young, who led Atlanta with 30 points. “We were trying everything. We were trying to catch him.”

Josh Green scored 21 points for Dallas, but Doncic carried the attack.

“I've never seen anything like this before,” Green said.

Young's three-pointer five seconds before the end of the game reduced Dallas' lead to 146-143. Jalen Johnson added 25 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 24 points for Atlanta.

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Doncic scored 23 points in the second quarter after opening with 18 points in the first.

Doncic, who is averaging 33.6 points, hit a 3-pointer with 4:48 left in the third quarter, giving him a season-high 51 points. He then targeted a career-high of 60 points, also a Dallas record, which he scored against the New York Knicks on December 27, 2022.

The Hawks had no answer for Doncic. Jalen Johnson opened as Atlanta's starting defender over a 6-foot-7 guard. Sadiq Bey, Dejounte Murray and others tried in vain to slow Doncic's high scoring pace.

Doncic's historic game came in his original NBA home — at least for a few minutes.

Doncic was selected by the Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft before his draft rights were traded to Dallas in exchange for Young with the No. 5 pick and a 2019 first-round pick used to select Cam Reddish.

Doncic scored 41 points in the first half, setting a record for most points in an entire half. He made 17 of 22 shots from the field, including 6 of 9 3-pointers in the first half.

The Mavericks' previous record for points in a half was 34 by Dirk Nowitzki in the second half against Utah on November 3, 2009.

Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving missed his second straight game with a sprained right thumb. He was injured against Boston on Monday.

Dallas forward Derrick Jones Jr. sprained his left wrist with 30 seconds left in the first half and did not return.

Young cleared the concussion protocol after missing two games.

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The league announced on Friday that the rematch between the two teams, which was scheduled to take place on April 5 in Dallas, has been postponed to April 4.

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