Luka in “Rare Air”; 7th game at 30 points to open the year

DALLAS — It’s been sixty years since the NBA had a season-opening goal streak like Luka Doncic’s torrid start to the season.

Doncic has scored at least 30 points in each of the Dallas Mavericks’ first seven games, the longest 30-point streak to start a season since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962-63. It’s a feat that has only been accomplished three times before, twice by Chamberlain and once by Jack Twyman.

Doncic is averaging a league-leading 36.1 points per game. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, this is the third highest seven-game average in the past 60 seasons behind Michael Jordan (37.0 in 1986-87) and James Harden (36.6 in 2019- 20).

“It’s rare air and we can see it every night,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said after Doncic had 33 points in a 103-100 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. “That’s pretty cool. A 23-year-old kid playing at this level is really, really special to see. He can do it in so many ways, when you’re talking about posting or going to the basket, shooting the 3 or take that small step back.

“It’s really cool to watch, and it just shows the focus he has at the moment. He carries the team and puts them in position to win.”

Doncic also had 11 assists, already marking his fourth performance of 30 points and 10 assists this season. The rest of the NBA has combined for four of those outings this season. Doncic broke Mark Aguirre’s franchise record for the longest 30-point game streak.

As Doncic noted, it’s a stark contrast to his slow start last season, when he admittedly showed up to training camp in poor shape.

“I just know that since last year I had to start better because the way I started last year was not acceptable,” said Doncic, who is shooting 51.4% from the floor. “I tried to learn from it and do better than last year.”

Doncic, an All-NBA first-team selection for the past three seasons, has often found himself on shortlists of players who have reached certain statistical milestones. With a smile, he mentioned that it seems Chamberlain is “always here.”

“Unbelievable, but I’m not surprised,” Dallas guard Spencer Dinwiddie said of Doncic’s historically significant scoring streak. “Luka is a scholar in every sense of the word when it comes to basketball. Nothing shocks me. Obviously he’s young and the best is yet to come. I think he’s going to set a lot of records for the Mavs and be in conversation with the greats.”

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