Luka Dončić posted a historic triple-double in the Dallas Mavericks’ thrilling 126-121 overtime victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old recorded a career-high 60 points and a career-high 21 rebounds to go with 10 assists, helping the Mavericks come from nine points down with just 33 seconds left in regulation.
It is the first time in NBA history that a player has reached that stat line.
“I’m tired as hell,” Dončić said after the match. “I need a recovery beer.”
Over the past 20 seasons, all 13,884 NBA teams that have trailed by at least nine points with 35 seconds or fewer left have lost the game, according to ESPN.
But in a dramatic playoff, Dončić intentionally missed a free kick and then secured the rebound, before scoring the putback to tie the game and force overtime.
The Slovenian star scored 10 points in the final minute of regulation and added seven more in overtime to pull out the most unlikely of victories.
Dončić also joins James Harden as the only other player in NBA history to score a 60-point triple-double, and also becomes just the sixth player to record six or more 40-point triple-doubles after Oscar Robertson, Harden, Russell Westbrook , Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James.
“We just saw it on the screen right now,” Dončić said of his goal. “We watched NBA TV. I mean, it’s just amazing to be in those comparisons and just be with those guys, at any time. It’s amazing to me.”
Dončić’s 60 points also set a new franchise scoring record for Dallas, surpassing the 53 points scored by Dirk Nowitzki against Houston in 2004.
“Just with age, he has a birthday here in the New Year, I think he’s seen everything at age 23,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said of Dončić becoming a leader. “But just his competitiveness to win is at a very high level – and you saw that on display tonight.
“Things did not go well. Give the Knicks credit, they made a lot of threes that we didn’t think were possible. They played harder. We were down 10. We’ve been in this position earlier in the season, when you talk about giving up a lead or giving up a game like this.
“Just to be able to stick together and trust, Luka was a big part of that. He never got discouraged that the game was over. As you can see, he picks up full court, we had a big jump ball. There’s a lot we have learned from our losses in close games like this.”
The Mavericks improve to 19-16 on the season and climb to sixth in the Western Conference, while the Knicks have now lost four straight to sit sixth in the East.