Forward Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points for the Toronto Raptors, who overcame a triple-double rookie rookie forward, Slovenian Luka Doncic, the second to win as a pro, and were imposed at home by 123-120 Dallas Mavericks.
Despite the inspiration of Doncic, who played his best game as a professional, the Raptors (37-15) remain leaders in the Atlantic Division and with the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
Kyle Lowry base added 19 points and Cameroonian forward Pascal Siakam scored 14 points, which left him as the third highest scorer of the Raptors.
While another tall man, the nationalized Congolese power forward Spanish Serge Ibaka contributed a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds that left him as the best in the Raptors inside game.
Ibaka played 36 minutes in which he scored 3 of 9 field goals, 5 of 8 from the personnel line, gave two assists, recovered a ball, put two blocks and committed five fouls.
For the Mavericks (22-27), third in the Southwest Division, the leading scorer was Doncic, who got 35 points, 12 rebounds – his two best marks as a professional – and 10 assists in 36 minutes of play.
Doncic, who turns 20 on February 28, became the first teenager in NBA history with two double doubles.
The former Real Madrid player, who played 36 minutes, scored 14 of 24 field goals, including 3 of 9 triples, and 4 of 6 from the personnel line.
Doncic also managed 10 defensive rebounds, while he lost three balls and committed three fouls.
The rookie revelation of the season and clear favorite to fight for the Best of the Year award, already has 30 or more points scored in six games so far this season.
Although all this is “special” for Doncic, the defeat of his team was what frustrated him most and made individual achievements not fill him with happiness.
“For me, the only thing that always matters to me in every game is victory,” said Doncic. “Getting a triple-double again in less than a week is something special for me, without any doubt, but it could be more significant if the team had also achieved the victory.”
The Mavericks did not make it because the Raptors were better as a team at the end and also had more inspiration in the personnel shots with 23 of 34 by 32 of 38 that the Toronto franchise achieved.
Forward Harrison Barnes added 14 points and point guard Dennis Smith Jr. reached 13 points with the Mavericks, who remain in last place in the Southwest Division and out of the playoffs.
Despite the victory, Raptors coach Nick Nurse acknowledged that the game was very difficult and difficult to win because they could never control Doncic’s actions.
“We could not get him out of his rhythm of play he played in the low man position, he has strength and speed at the time of penetration which made him always beat us,” admitted Nurse. “When we got help so that did not happen, then he responded with incredible shots that also broke our defense.”
Doncic with 23.6 per game scored a triple to put the 115-119 run that kept the Maveriks in the game until Lowry with 9.7 seconds left scored two personal shots and put the partial of 117-123 that gave him the advantage decisive to the Raptors, without the triple that scored the Australian guard-forward Ryan Broekhoff had effect on the final score.