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With Luka Doncic as the star player and Stephen Silas effectively the offensive coordinator, the 2019-20 Dallas Mavericks finished the regular season as the most efficient offense in NBA history.

Shortly after that season ended, Silas earned his first NBA head coaching job, which he still holds today with the Houston Rockets.

On Wednesday, the Doncic-led Mavs visited Toyota Center for this season’s third and final meeting between the longtime Texas rivals. The first two matchups were split in January, with each team winning on the other’s home floor. But before things got underway, Silas made sure to pay his respects to Doncic and head coach Rick Carlisle, among others.

“Without Luka, I wouldn’t be the head coach of the #Rockets right now, and I realize that,” Silas told reporters pregame. “Just the experience that I had with him, but also the success that we had.”

Silas hasn’t had nearly the same success in Houston that he did in Dallas, but that’s largely because the Rockets (13-37) don’t have a building block anywhere near the caliber of the 22-year-old Doncic. Over time, that’s what general manager Rafael Stone hopes to acquire, and that could allow the Rockets to function more like Silas’ previous offenses.

For now, though, Silas is admiring from afar. Doncic is averaging 28.6 points, 8.8 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game, and his Mavericks (28-21) are on a season-long winning streak of five games. The 6-foot-7 guard is shooting 48.6% overall and 37.6% on 3-pointers, both career-highs.

“He is supremely confident,” Silas said of Doncic. “He’s quicker than you think, bigger than you think, and stronger than you think. And he is very much like a basketball savant. Very intelligent… and he just picks things up so quickly. And now, he’s shooting the ball very well. That makes it harder for anybody to guard him.”


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