3 Studs, 2 duds in Mavericks' blowout loss to Nuggets

Dec 18, 2023; Denver, Colorado
Dec 18, 2023; Denver, Colorado / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Stud - Luka Doncic

Coming off a Western Conference Player of the Week Award, Luka Doncic showed out once again against the Denver Nuggets.

The Dallas superstar scored 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting. He knocked down 6-of-12 3-pointers, his third time shooting 50 percent or better from beyond the arc in December.

Doncic also added 11 boards and eight assists on the night. He only turned the ball over three times against the Nuggets. The Mavericks came up short, but Doncic did all he could to keep Dallas relatively close throughout the first half of action.

Doncic has been playing out of this world as of late. He hasn't scored less than 30 points since November 19. And he's recorded at least double-digit rebounds or assists in every game this December.

The Mavericks are leaning on Doncic more than ever. Without a healthy Kyrie Irving, Doncic scoring 35-plus is almost a prerequisite for Dallas to win. Even though Doncic scored 38 last night, the Mavericks still lost in an ugly fashion to the Nuggets.

It goes to show an unbelievable Doncic performance doesn't always equate to a win. Doncic needs help. The impending returns of Irving, Dereck Lively II, and Josh Green will take such a heavy load of Doncic's shoulders.

It goes without saying that Doncic will continue to perform at an all-world level, but the Mavericks can only get so far relying completing on their superstar's heroics.