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What Luka Doncic is doing this season isn't normal

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Luka Doncic put the Mavericks on his back Tuesday against the Warriors and carried them to victory with his third 40-point triple-double of a season not even two months old.

That’s more 40-point triple doubles than he had in his career entering the season. Nobody else in the NBA has one. There were only three all of last season.

After the game, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said “some of us can take [Doncic] for granted,” joking that “it’s getting boring.”

“I mean, let’s see something different. Maybe do it with his left hand,” Kidd said.

“It’s getting boring… what else, let’s see something different”

Coach Jason Kidd on @luka7doncic‘s 41-point triple-double tonight. pic.twitter.com/PS0p0EGFnS

— NBA (@NBA) November 30, 2022

I don’t know how to gauge whether Doncic is being taken for granted or not. But I do know being taken for granted is a sign of true greatness, because that’s what happens when you’re consistently great. People expect it.

So maybe Kidd is on to something. But nobody should be expecting what Doncic is doing right now.

I don’t want to pretend the Mavericks are without other good players, but they’re often at an overall talent disadvantage — just as they were against the Warriors. And yet, they haven’t completely bottomed out yet, going 10-10 through 20 games.

Doncic is the reason why. Their record when he scores at least 30 points is 10-4.

I’m not sure how long the league’s leading scorer and betting favorite to win MVP can keep it up, but it’ll be fun to track. And along the way, we should keep in mind that performances like the one he had Tuesday are far from normal.

The Tip-Off

Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After Dallas’ win Tuesday, TNT analyst Charles Barkley told Doncic the Mavericks need to play at a faster pace than they do.

Doncic agreed, but had to remind Barkley, “I’m slow.”

He’s not wrong. Doncic plays at a uniquely slow yet effective pace. But possessions for the Mavericks, who play at the league’s slowest pace, actually take longer with Doncic off the court. For The Win’s Bryan Kalbrosky broke down how that could hurt them in the long run:

“There is a method to the madness for Doncic, but it tends to take a long time to come to fruition. The average offensive possession for the Mavericks lasts 15.55 seconds, per PBP Stats. That is an eternity by NBA standards and (by this point, to no surprise) is the slowest of any team in the league.

But the average offensive possession for Dallas is actually slower when Doncic is off the court (15.75 seconds) compared to when he is playing.

This might be the root of a much bigger problem for the Mavericks, who currently project as a fringe non-play-in team in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Dallas can absolutely play slow if its offense is high-powered by Doncic. They average a stellar rate of 117.6 points per 100 possessions when Doncic is on the court. When he rests, however, their offensive rating (105.5) drops significantly.”

One potential solution: More minutes for Josh Green.

One to Watch

(All odds via Tipico.)

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers (+155) at Sacramento Kings (-4.5, -180), O/U 242.5, 10 PM ET

Tyrese Haliburton is doing things we have quite literally never seen before in the NBA, and somehow his trade to the Pacers might end up as a wash. That’s because the Kings are playing great too behind Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. While the Kings have struggled defensively, they’re home against a team in the middle of a road swing, so I’ll take their moneyline.

Shootaround

— 2022-23 MVP Ladder, Vol. 3: Stephen Curry emerges

Wembanyama Wednesday: Imagine Vic and Bol Bol on the same team

— Lock of the night: Shaq bet Charles Barkley $5K he couldn’t ride a kids’ bike

— Why were there non-Lakers in the Lakers pregame hype video?

List

2022-23 NBA MVP Ladder, Vol. 3: Stephen Curry emerges as Dubs continue to roll

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