The battle between the players that were ranked No.1 and No. 2 in ESPN’s rankings of the NBA’s Best 25 under 25, stole the headlines on Wednesday night.
Behind a 30-point, 17-rebound and 10-assist triple-double by 21-year-old sensation Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavs Nation edged out a 127-123 win over rookie sensation Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. Williams had 21 points and 6 rebounds in the second game of his first pro back-to-back, but Luka continues to be a methodical manchild on the court.
Luka Doncic's Highlights from last night
▪️ 30 PTS, 17 REB, 10 AST, W
▪️ Stepback Three over Zion
▪️ Danced with Jrue Holiday
▪️ Clutch Three in OT
▪️ Became Mavs franchise leader in triple-doubles (22)
▪️ 5th player in NBA history w/ 10 30-PT triple-doubles in a season pic.twitter.com/YOx513moh2
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 5, 2020
The debates increased regarding which stud would be the best to start a franchise with after the ESPN list dropped which coincided with the matchup last night.
Also, LeBron recently referenced both Zion and Luka as the future of the league and during NBA All-Star Weekend, Luka himself claimed “[Zion] is a monster. He is not from this world.”
Expect these NBA young guns to have some classic battles for years to come. Both have already etched their names into the record books.
Zion is the first player in the last 30 years to score at least 20 points in eight of his first 10 games. After recording a career-high 35 points against the Lakers, as of Wednesday morning, Zion was averaging 24.1 points while shooting 59% from the field to go along with 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Luka, the reigning Rookie of the Year, was averaging 28.5 points, 9.3 boards, and 8.8 assists entering last night’s game. He’s the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 20 in points per game (No. 6), rebounds per game (No. 19), and assists per game (No.4).
The Claw & PG-13 vs. The Beard & Russ
The Kawhi-lead LA Clippers and “Small-Ball” Houston Rockets clash tonight (March 5) on TNT at 8 pm ET. Both teams are trying to establish themselves as championship-caliber. Not just sideshows to a Lakers title.
The Rockets have a reinvigorated championship spirit ever since Mike D’Antonio switched to his small-ball lineup. The tweak has opened the floodgates for Russell Westbrook to finally shine playing his explosive style, which is an even better complement to Harden’s lethally-plodding attack.
Westbrook averaged 33.4 points in the month of February and Harden is Harden. Playoff performance in clutch spots will determine where “the Beard” ranks among the all-time greats.
As the NBA playoffs approach, the potentially fourth-seeded Houston Rockets are three games behind the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers, making their Thursday night matchup must-win and a must-see.
The Rockets, winners of six of their last seven games, have topped the Clippers in two of their three matchups this season, but not by much; the total point differential for all three games is 11 points. Winners of five straight, the Clippers are hitting their stride.
Additionally, we’re nearly three years removed from the trade that sent Chris Paul from the Clippers to the Rockets, which begs the argument, who won the trade?
The Clippers received Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams in the trade, all key to the Clippers’ title hopes this season. Williams won Sixth Man of the Year in each of the last two seasons.
The Rockets received Chris Paul in the deal and took Golden State to 7 games in the Conference Finals. Then they used Paul to acquire MVP Russell Westbrook this offseason.
Those are just two of the noteworthy NBA game son tap this weekend.
Both will be exciting games, especially since we’re officially less than 100 days until the Finals!
The Return of Steph Curry is also tonight, so that will be a big deal to Golden State fans. LeBron and AD will get tested against Giannis and the Bucks on Friday on ESPN. And against the Clippers on Sunday in a huge matchup on ABC.
On Sunday you can catch CP3 and OKC battle with the Celtics who are bubbling.