The last game in a looooong Christmas Day slate of NBA games can either be one of two things: it’s either the contest you leave in the background as you recover from nearly 12 hours of NBA basketball or the game that puts you back on your seat and ends December 25 with a bang. 

This year, it was pretty much the latter thanks to Luka Doncic. 

Doncic became the fourth player to score 50 points on Christmas Day, joining the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Bernard King, and Rick Barry. It was an extra special for Doncic, however, as he also eclipsed the 10,000-point mark in his masterclass against the Phoenix Suns. 

Milestones and wins have come and gone for Doncic, but they become extra special when it’s against the Suns. Their seven-game series in the 2022 NBA Playoffs remains the stuff of legends, but this Christmas Day matchup was extra special as the Slovenian clearly had his way around Phoenix. 

Suns head coach Frank Vogel threw everything but the kitchen sink yet Doncic remained unfazed. Single coverage, double-teams, and even extra defenders showing up at various points in the possession proved futile as the Slovenian had the right response to whatever the defense gave him. Everyone and their grandmother knew that Doncic would get the ball and that predictability did little to change the outcome. 

When the rest of the Dallas Mavericks piled on the points, much of it could still be attributed to Doncic, who also finished with a game-high 50 assists. The best part? Doncic was clearly having fun. 

Looking at the bigger picture, Doncic’s evisceration of Phoenix only adds to the case for his first MVP award. Statistically, the four-time All-NBA selection is having a career year, with his points per game (33.5) and assists per game (9.4) among the highlighted numbers. The Mavs are also in the hunt for one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference, with their 18-12 record having them only five games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves. If Doncic leads Dallas to a top-four finish and plays more than 65 games, then he has a great chance to get that elusive MVP award.  

The Phoenix Suns may want to put this Christmas behind them after Luka Doncic messed around and got a 50-point double-double. Doncic may be handing out bikes and Ls, but his efforts could eventually end up giving him a trophy that has eluded him since he entered the NBA: the Michael Jordan MVP trophy.