NBA Daily: Doncic show continues, Jokic inspires Nuggets, Harrel's transformation
Is Luka Doncic NBA's most valuable player at the moment?
Dallas Maverics beat Houston Rockets, rather comfortably, on Sunday night thanks to yet another remarkable performance from young Luka Doncic. The Slovenian scored 41 points and was instrumental in stopping the attacking threat of Jame Harden-led Rockets. Doncic has had at least 30 points and 10 assists in each of the last four games. Harden had 32 points for Houston but was just 2 of 15 on 3-pointers in a game where the Rockets made 10 of 44 3-point attempts.
“This is a big win. There’s no question about that,” Rick Carlisle said after the match. “You come in here, this is a big-time place to play and you’re playing against great players. So our guys deserve credit, but this is a process and it’s day by day and week by week, and we’ve got to continue to go for daily improvement.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. added a season-high 31 and the Mavericks never trailed in the 137-123 romp. Dallas scored 45 points in the first quarter and were up 78-60 at halftime.
“That first quarter killed us,” Houston’s P.J. Tucker said.
James Harden echoed his teammate's sentiments and pointed out his team's defence did everything wrong on the night.
“Everything,” he said. “We allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do from the beginning of the game, and when you give a team like that comfort … they gain confidence. And that’s what they did.”
The Mavericks have won five straight, scoring at least 137 in the last three. Houston has lost three straight after winning eight in a row.
Kings down Wizards
Harrison Barnes matched his season high with 26 points on 7-of-8 shooting, Bojan Bogdanovic had 21 points and Sacramento won at Washington.
Buddy Hield added 18 points, including a late 3-pointer, and Richaun Holmes had 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Kings won for the seventh time in 10 games to improve to 7-8.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 20 points, ending his string of 30 or more points at a career-best five games. Isaiah Thomas finished with 17 points, and Moritz Wagner had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Montrezl Harrell's transformation
Montrezl Harrell matched his career high with 34 points to go with 12 rebounds off the bench to spark the Clippers to a 134-109 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night at Staples Center. The Clippers (12-5) won their fifth straight game and improved their franchise-best start at home to 11-1. Harrell has been a big part of the Clippers' success so far, averaging a career-high 19 points and 7.5 rebounds while making 60.4% of his shots.
Nuggets maintain their run
Paul Millsap scored 23 points and Jamal Murray and Will Barton had 22 apiece in Denver ‘s win at home. Nikola Jokic had just eight points, but grabbed 13 rebounds to help Denver win its fifth in a row. Jokic has been in form lately and will be key to Nuggets play-off hopes.