The Dallas Mavericks came out with some extra energy on Jan. 2 as Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Maxi Kleber all returned from the health and safety protocols. It was the first time Luka played since Dec. 10 as he missed five games with an ankle injury before sitting five more on the COVID list. Doncic led the Mavs to a 95-86 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in his return.
It was fantastic to see number 77 back on the floor, but he was a bit rusty. Fans witnessed a few errant passes, and Luka missed a few shots that he would normally sink. Being on the sidelines for more than three weeks tends to have that impact, even on superstar talents.
The rust did not stop Doncic from producing outstanding numbers. The Mavericks superstar finished with 14 points, ten assists, nine rebounds, and one steal in 31 minutes of action. Luka had seven turnovers and went just six of 14 from the field from the field, but he pushed the Mavs back to .500 on the season.
Luka Doncic leads Dallas Mavericks to win over Thunder in his return
It did not take Doncic long to hit his patented step-back 3-pointer as he drilled one less than three minutes into the contest. It was his only make of the first quarter.
LD had his playmaking on full display in Oklahoma City. He was playing unselfish basketball, and there was plenty of flare too. Doncic certainly put on a show in the victory. It was fantastic to see the 22-year-old dish out ten dimes in his first game back, and as he often does, Luka saved the best for last.
Luka was far from the only standout on Sunday night. Marquese Chriss had 15 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes of action. He made six of his nine field goals, including three 3-pointers. Chriss earned a second ten-day deal with the Mavericks, and he continued his impressive play against the Thunder.
Dallas had five players in double-figures as they shared the ball well on Sunday night. Luka Doncic led that charge, and he played with some extra energy on the defensive end too in his first game back after missing ten straight.
The Dallas Mavericks are back in action on Monday night as they host the Denver Nuggets. Kristaps Porzingis was rested against the Thunder, but he will return to face Denver. The Mavs are back to .500 and are getting healthy. Dallas will look to make it a winning streak on Jan. 3 at American Airlines Center, and fans will not want to miss that contest.