Luka Doncic was absolutely incredible on Tuesday night. The shot that everyone will remember is the stepback 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to break the tie and give Dallas its second consecutive win (and sixth in seven games). However, in true hipster fashion, the shot that does it for me came a possession earlier. Down by one with Jaylen Brown relentlessly pursuing him on defense, Doncic was desperately trying to find some space. Dorian Finney-Smith set a screen to give Doncic the space he needed, Daniel Theis was forced to switch onto the 21-year-old phenom and El Niño Maravilla went to work.
Doncic put Theis in a blender like he was working at Tropical Smoothie Café, taking a step left before crossing back to his right and driving forward. As Theis’ momentum carried him to the basket the basketball world knew what was next. Like it was on a string, Doncic yanked the ball back, created separation with his stepback and had the ball up in a flash. Before Theis knew what hit him, the Mavericks had taken a two-point lead with 15.3 seconds left on the clock.
Doncic finished with 31 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the floor while going 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. He was two assists away from another triple-double. Over his last nine games, Doncic is averaging 32.4 points, shooting 45.8 percent from deep all while putting up 7.9 rebounds and 8.9 assists per contest. Dallas is 7-2 SU/4-5 ATS in those games, but the time to start playing the Mavericks is here. The betting market turned on them, making them just a 4.5-point favorite over a poor Memphis team, and an underdog to a Boston team that is now 3-7 SU and ATS in its last 10 games. I do not know how long this run lasts for Dallas, but I will likely be on the train until it derails.
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The Main Event
Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz (-8, 220)
Los Angeles is in the midst of a 1-4 SU and ATS slide, and it has dropped three straight heading into tonight’s contest with Utah. The problems with the Lakers offense are real. Over this five-game stretch, they are averaging just 106.6 points every 100 possessions while shooting an abysmal 30.6 percent from 3-point range, and these issues are not just isolated to this small sample size. Since Jan. 25, Los Angeles is 22nd in offensive efficiency (109.3), and 30th in 3-point shooting (30.9 percent). Even though they are 9-6 SU in their last 15, they are just 4-11 ATS, closing as a favorite of at least three points in every one of those games.