In the first roadtrip of the 2019-20 season for the Los Angeles Lakers, Lebron James and Dallas Mavericks’ player Luka Doncic made National Basketball Association (NBA) history, as they are the first opponents to both have triple-doubles topping 30 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in the same game.
A triple-double is when a player earns a double-digit number in three of five categories within basketball statistics: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.
On Nov. 1, the Lakers beat the Mavericks 119-110 in an overtime win, after James drew the Mav’s defense toward him in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, passing the ball to Danny Green who swished a three-point shot and forced overtime.
Before the forced overtime, James ran a third-quarter comeback, and the Lakers went on a 10-0 run to begin the quarter. After hitting three out of five three-pointers, the Lakers took their first lead 63-61 since the score was 2-0 in the first period of the game.
Dallas answered with three three-pointers in the final 2:26 of the third quarter, giving them a 9-point advantage going into the fourth. James came in a minute later, dunking the ball and giving the Lakers a 96-94 lead in the fourth. James and fellow teammate Anthony Davis worked to overpower Doncic who scored all seven points for the Mavs in overtime.
James had a season-high 39 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds and four steals, being the first time a player has recorded these minimum stats in a single game since steals were added as an official statistic in the 1973-74 season.
Additionally, James is the third player in NBA history who recorded at least 30, 30-point triple doubles, following behind Oscar Robertson and Russel Westbrook. Since 1990, according to NBA statistics, James is also the first Lakers player with 30 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in a game since Magic Johnson in 1990.
Dallas’ Doncic finished with 31 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds. This was the tenth of Doncic’s career, thus extending this 20-year-old’s record for triple-doubles achieved by players under 21, as James follows Doncic on the list with five.
Doncic continued his reign, as two days later he had another triple-double performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Doncic finished with 29 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds in the 131-111 win. This would be the 2018’s Rookie of the Year’s second consecutive triple-double, as the first player to record such stats in back to back games. Doncic is also the youngest NBA player to record consecutive 25-point triple-doubles.
Triple-doubles can break the limits behind an amazing basketball game. According to BleacherReport, “since the start of the 1984-85 season, there have been 72,798 games played, per Basketball-Reference.com’s Play Index. There have been only 1,242 triple-doubles in those, occurring at a rate of just 1.7 %. In that span, 2,401 players have taken the court with just 248 (9.1%) of them ever recording a triple double and barely half of those (131) notching more than one. Only 29 have more than 10. However, when they do occur, the player’s team has won 931 (75%) times. So it’s not only a statistical oddity, it’s an indication of dominance. It means that the triple-doubler is leaving an impression on three aspects of the game, and that leads to winning.”
The Lakers now have a record of 6-1 for the 2019 season, following a six-game win streak. Since 2013-14, the Lakers have had losing seasons. In 2013-14, they had 27 wins and 55 losses. In attempting to rebuild this franchise, their win-count increased, but losses remained high. Last season, the Lakers went 37 and 45 on their season, closing the gap since 2014.
Can the Lakers maintain this streak and take it to the postseason? Or will they fall short as they have in years past? Let’s cross our fingers, and hope LeBron fans everywhere are on the edge of their seats.