The Dallas Mavericks never trailed in their final game before the All-Star break, winning 125-118 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night. The win is the sixth in the last seven games for the Mavericks. 

Luka Doncic delivered another elite performance, finishing with 49 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. The 49 points are the second most Doncic has scored in a single game in his career. It is second only to his 51-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers one week prior. 

Doncic followed that 51-point performance with a 45-point game just two days later against the same Clippers team. Those performances earned Doncic the honor of being named the Western Conference’s Player of the Week. Only Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors has logged at least three games of 45-points or more this season, and now Doncic has accomplished that feat just within the last four games. 

“What he’s doing right now is unbelievable,” said Mavericks center Maxi Kleber. “He’s just gifted as a teammate. It’s fun to watch.”

Kleber finished with 20 points for Dallas as the team made 44-of-82 (53.7%) total shot attempts. 

Doncic made four of his first five three-point attempts against the Pelicans before finishing 7-of-14 from deep for the entire game. The Mavericks raced out to a 45-27 lead after one quarter, with Doncic scoring 19 points in the opening period alone. As a team, Dallas made 9-of-12 three-pointers in the first quarter. 

“Luka set the tone early and often,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “We can sit here and talk about him all day. The things that he does on the court for himself and his teammates [are] incredible.”

The Mavericks took their first lead of more than 20 points when Davis Bertans made a three-pointer to start the second quarter. It appeared as though Dallas would quickly run away with the win. However, New Orleans steadily trimmed away at the lead to get within single digits late in the second quarter. Still, the Pelicans struggled to stay within ten points the rest of the game and went into halftime trailing 71-58. 

Dallas opened up another lead of more than 20 points, thanks to an impressive scoring sequence from Doncic late in the third quarter. First, he connected on a layup as he was fouled, then hit a three on the next possession before capping the sequence with a dunk that gave him 20 points scored in the third quarter alone. Dallas held its largest lead at 105-81, heading into the fourth quarter. 

Again it seemed that Dallas would coast to an easy win, but the Pelicans had other plans. New Orleans guard CJ McCollum caught fire and scored 18 points in the fourth quarter alone. He helped bring the Pelicans deficit to five points, 118-113, with 3:36 remaining in the game. McCollum finished with 38 points, five assists, and two rebounds for the Pelicans. 

New Orleans got as close as four points, 122-118, with under a minute left. But two free throws from Jalen Brunson with 28.7 seconds left gave Dallas just enough breathing room to escape New Orleans with a road win. 

Brunson finished with 23 points and six assists. Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points and had a crucial steal in the game’s final moments to help end the Pelicans (23-36) rally. Dallas (35-24) is now 11 games above .500 for the first time all season. 

The Mavericks now have a week off for the All-Star break before their next game on February 25 in Utah against the Jazz. However, not everyone will get to rest. Doncic will be participating in the All-Star game in Cleveland this Sunday. His recent performances have shown why he was more than worthy of being named an All-Star.