Luka Doncic scored a double-double, 29 points, and 11 rebounds, and helped Dallas Mavericks beat Oklahoma City Thunder 107-97, in what was either team’s first game after Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers’ legendary player and one of the true greats of NBA, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Monday.
Tributes continue to pour in for the 41-year-old, who spent all his 20 stellar years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, from all around the world, with NBA players, and sports icons from other sports, mourning the death of a true sports icon.
There was a moment of silence prior to the tip-off at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Thunder then took on an 8-minute violation, with the Mavericks also taking a 24-second shot clock violation to honour the number Bryant made famous all around the world.
Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic couldn’t control his tears as he broke down after the first quarter.
”I broke down after the first quarter,” the 20-year-old Slovenian said. ”That was when it really hit me. It was really hard to explain.”
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban issued the following statement on the passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. pic.twitter.com/Ua41YrvTMZ
— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) January 27, 2020
Mavericks dominated the entire first half and went into the break with a 59-47 lead. Normality resumed after the break with Dallas extending their advantage to 70-54 but Thunder’s 11-0 run cut the deficit down to just five points. Dallas reacted positively and ended the third quarter on top, leading 88-77 going into the fourth quarter, and led in double-digits for the rest of the game.
Kristaps Porzingis ended with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Tim Hardaway Jr scored 15 points. Delon Wright was immense from the bench as he scored his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
For Thunder, Dennis Schroder dropped a team-high 21 points, while Shai-Gilgeous Alexander added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
With that win, Dallas improved their regular-season record to 29-17 but stayed 5th in the Western Conference standings. Thunder are 28-20 and down at 7th in the same conference.
Dallas will host Phoneix Suns on Wednesday morning (IST), while Thunder goes on a two-game road trip, starting with the tilt at Sacramento Kings.