Bulls overcome Doncic’s historic triple double, Knicks thump Celtics

Published January 18, 2021, 12:16 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks fouls Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls in the first quarter at American Airlines Center on January 17, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP

Lauri Markkanen scored a team high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls overcame a historic triple double from Luka Doncic to beat the Dallas Mavericks 117-101 on Sunday.

Garrett Temple scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half as the Bulls snapped a four-game losing streak.

The Bulls shot 50 percent in the first half and led by 19 points at one stage en route to a 67-52 lead heading into the third quarter.

Slovenian sensation Doncic finished with 36 points, 16 rebounds ad 15 assists to record his 29th career triple-double to pass Michael Jordan and move into 15th spot on the all-time list.

A frustrated Doncic said the blame for the loss rested squarely on his shoulders because he played selfishly.

“The second half, I played terrible,” Doncic said. “That’s on me, that game. I was being selfish a little bit because I had 30 points in the first half. 

“That wasn’t me in the second half. I’ve got to do way better in the second half. That’s just on me.”

Doncic shot 11-of-18 from the floor in the first half. He finished with six three pointers.

Doncic became only the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game and the youngest to do so. Oscar Robertson did it five times. 

The Bulls had six players in double figure scoring as their bench outscored the Mavericks reserves 61-22. Chicago’s ball movement was outstanding and their defence compiled a season high 14 steals.

This was Markkanen’s second game back after missing seven because of Covid-19 protocols.

“I was a little short on my shot and trying to get my legs back,'” Markkanen said the Finnish flash. ”Conditioning-wise, I feel pretty good.”

Kristaps Porzingis added 20 points and eight rebounds for Dallas in his third game back since recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee. 

Elsewhere, the New York Knicks snapped their five-game NBA losing streak in emphatic style, holding the host Celtics to a season-low total in a 105-75 blowout win.

Julius Randle scored 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and RJ Barrett added 19 points and 11 boards for the Knicks, who spoiled the season debut of Celtics All-Star guard Kemba Walker, absent the first 11 games with a left knee injury.

Walker departed in the third quarter with an apparent rib injury, but said he was happy to be back.

“It felt really good to be out there,” Walker said. “I kind of forgot how good it feels to be out there.”

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 25 points as Eastern Conference leader Boston remained without Jayson Tatum, who remained in Covid-19 quarantine.

The Knicks never trailed, pushing their lead to as many as 11 in the first quarter and 15 in the second.

They opened the second half with a 10-0 scoring burst and led by as many as 37 before it was over.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said that even as his team remained mired in a losing streak, he liked what he was seeing in practice.

“I love the approach and I love the attitude of the guys we had today,” Thibodeau said. “A lot of guys stepped up and played really well today.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens, meanwhile, said the game wasn’t representative of Boston.

“We had a clunker,” Stevens said. “You try to have as few of those as you can.”