Luka Doncic cannot do it all as shorthanded Dallas Mavericks fall to Nuggets

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Denver Nuggets 118-109 on Wednesday night, despite superstar Luka Doncic going off for 37 points. It was the final game before the All-Star break, and both teams were shorthanded. Kyrie Irving was ruled out with a back injury as he joined Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans, and Tim Hardaway Jr. on the sidelines for Dallas. The Nuggets were without Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon, but it did not matter as they dominated at Ball Arena on Feb. 15.

Luka tried to put the Mavericks on his back, but it was not enough in the Mile High City. He had 37 points, four rebounds, nine assists, and four steals in 35 minutes of action. Doncic made 12 of his 22 field goal attempts, and he went ten of 12 from the free throw line. Number 77 put on a show in Denver, but the rest of his teammates appeared ready for the All-Star break.

Here is a closer look at the Mavericks' performance on Wednesday night, including a couple of surprising performances before looking ahead to what is next.

Luka Doncic cannot do it all as shorthanded Dallas Mavericks fall to Nuggets

Doncic got into his bag of tricks several times on Wednesday night in Denver. He was knocking down shots from all over the floor and putting on a show. See him turn a steal into a beautiful make in the third quarter.

The Mavericks’ lack of ball-handling and playmaking behind Luka and Kyrie was on full display on Wednesday night. Dallas had nobody to run the offense when Doncic rested, and the Mavs were trying to cobble together a rotation with four rotation pieces out injured.

A.J. Lawson had arguably the best game of his young NBA career on Feb. 15. The 22-year-old rookie is on a two-way contract, and he played in just his 13th game, but he finished with a career-high ten points in 12 minutes of action. The Mavs needed to fill wing minutes on Wednesday night, and Lawson stepped up in his opportunity, but his night ended early because of an injury in the fourth quarter.

Christian Wood had another strong offensive game, but he still only played 21 minutes. The Mavericks needed scorer and shot-making with Irving and Hardaway Jr. out. Wood scored 17 on six of 13 shooting from the field, but he did not get a massive opportunity. It was disappointing for him not to play more as Dallas was shorthanded in Denver.

Doncic, Wood, and Lawson were the only three Mavericks in double figures on Wednesday night. The Nuggets dominated the rebounding battle and the scoreboard as they proved why they currently have the best record in the West.

It was a forgettable final game before the All-Star break. The Mavs tried to make a run in the fourth quarter to get back in the game, but it was too little too late as Dallas lost their third straight game. They are 31-29 heading into the break and in the middle of bunched pack from third to 12th in the Western Conference. The Mavericks must play better after the All-Star break if they want to finish in the top four and secure homecourt in the first round of the playoffs.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will head to Salt Lake City for All-Star weekend as the rest of the roster gets some time off. The new superstar duo are both supposed to start the All-Star game on Sunday night, assuming Irving recovers from his back injury. The Dallas Mavericks return from the break with a six-game homestand that begins on Feb. 23 against the rival Spurs. Do not miss All-Star weekend, and enjoy a few days without basketball before things pick back up after the break.

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