Doncic conquers Madison

The Slovenian led the Mavericks to victory against the Knicks' spider web and conquered Madison Square Garden with 26 points.


Madison has always been a place of worship. In New York, the center of the world, the heart of the land of opportunity, the setting is ripe to leave your mark on history. Great legends of this sport have done things there, such as Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. Also local players like Carmelo Anthony, although that custom has been lost in the last two decades, with the Knicks being a shadow of what they were and the paraphernalia and entertainment of a dormant fans, more aware of the rival's feats than of the own, almost nonexistent. Gone are the days when the Knicks won rings, in the prehistory of the League, with Madison as the epicenter of the NBA and Red Holzman become the most respected coach in the world. And yet, the New York team has risen slightly when it seemed impossible for it to do so, with Tom Thibodeau at the controls and an unexpected defense and competitiveness, which allows them, at this point, to be in seventh position in the Eastern Conference and add a 24-25 record. That is, more wins than in either of the last two seasons.

Luka Doncic faced that unexplored territory. Uncharted because he had never faced a competitive Knicks. The Slovenian landed at Madison without the vitola, still a legend, but as the best player of his generation and the face of the future of the best league in the world. And he has not made history, reserved only for a few, but he has led his team to victory over his counterpart in the Eastern Conference: both occupy the seventh position, one that gives access to the play-in, and they fight to maintain it against a series of rivals who squeeze from behind while trying to advance and qualify directly for the playoffs, without having to dispute that kind of preview that the NBA was invented by the coronavirus pandemic and that nobody wants to play. To compete in a lottery, it is better not to, and a bad game can be had by anyone, something that you cannot afford in the play-in.

What for the Mavs would be an ordeal, of course, for the Knicks would be a prize. Disputing even if it only lasts that tie to fight for the playoffs is a success for a young franchise, adrift in the offices, straightened out by Thibodeau, but that has not qualified for the playoffs since 2013. For now, they have room to maintain their position in the East, but Doncic led the Mavericks 'third straight win ... which also meant the Knicks' third straight loss. The Slovenian has gone to 26 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, has had a correct series of shots (11 of 23) and has emboldened a team that was difficult at the beginning, but that showed an extraordinary defense, leaving to his rivals in 86 points, 17 in the last quarter. Rick Carlisle has played boredom and rebound, which Tom Thibodeau wanted, and has emerged victorious.

In addition to Doncic (who hit a fabulous triple against draw in the fourth quarter), the Mavs had a bit of Porzingis (14), Richardson (11) of Tim Hardaway (14) and Jalen Brunson (15). And they all did a huge collective job to stop All Star Julius Randle, who went to 14 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists ... but scored 5 of 20 on field goals, including 1 of 7 on triples, in addition to adding 5 losses and -18 on the track. It was not his best game and the Knicks have noticed: in addition to Randle, there were only 6 points from the sensation Quickley (with 2 of 9 in field shots), 13 from Reggie Bullock and 20 from Alec Burks, the only one who gave the face in a bad game, dirty, very stuck and with few points. But that has ended, of course, with an important victory for the Mavericks that brings them closer to the goal of the playoffs as we enter April and many teams begin to do their math. Luka Doncic conquers Madison Square Garden. Actually, it couldn't be otherwise.

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