It was a thing of beauty, even if we’ve seen it before.
This particular variation, however, was making its Dallas Mavericks debut Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
Late in the first quarter, newly arrived guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had just checked into the game a few minutes earlier when Luka Doncic found him streaking towards the basket on a fast break.
Hardaway slammed home the pass and a new era, in part, for Mavericks basketball was officially on.
A few minutes later, Hardaway hit his first 3-pointer, followed by a step-back 3 from Doncic, who collected his third triple-double, as the Mavs beat the Charlotte Hornets 99-93.
Doncic, who finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, is the only teenager in NBA history with even one triple-double, much less three.
Hardaway, along with Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Kristaps Porzingis, the centerpiece of the last week’s trade with the New York Knicks, were all on hand for their first game with their new team.
Porzingis, who is recovering from an ACL injury from a year ago (Wednesday night, to be exact), will not make his Mavs’ debut until next season as the team and Porzingis’ doctors take a cautious approach with his return.
Trey Burke entered the game in the third quarter and was 0 for 2 in 4:29 of play. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said it was his decision to not play Lee.
Rebounding, which was thought to be an issue for the Mavs with rebounding leader DeAndre Jordan part of the trade with the Knicks, wasn’t a problem Wednesday. Dallas held a 57-47 rebound advantage, including 12 from Dwight Powell off the bench and 10 from Dorian Finney-Smith.
Despite the triple-double, which is the first to come with a victory for Doncic, the rookie struggled shooting for much of the night. He was 5 of 20, including 2 of 10 from the 3-point arc.
Hardaway wasn’t much better, making 5 of 16 overall and 2 of 9 from the arc. Hardaway finished with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists.