Luka Doncic labelled his past two performances as "awful" and conceded fatigue was a factor after back-to-back losses and back-to-back sub-30-point games for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Slovenian guard had started the season with nine straight 30-point games – a mark only previously topped by Wilt Chamberlain's outrageous 23-game streak in 1962-63 – but that has run ground to a halt in his past two games as the Mavericks have fallen to 6-5.
Michael Jordan was the last player to achieve six straight 30-point games to start a season, back in 1986-87, putting 23-year-old Doncic in esteemed company.
But Doncic's production has dropped off, managing only 22 points on eight-of-21 shooting in the Mavs' 113-105 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday, having dipped below the 30-mark for the first time this season in Wednesday's 94-87 defeat to the Orlando Magic, where he scored 24.
"I've been awful for two games now," Doncic told reporters. "These two games are on me. We got to figure [it] out. These two games we were supposed to win, but we didn't, so I've got to figure it out."
Doncic's remarkable start had led to questions on whether he could maintain it physically, and he conceded fatigue was one of many factors that had contributed to his drop-off in the past two games.
"It's good defense, fatigue, high level everything," Doncic said. "I had a real busy summer [Slovenia reached the EuroBasket 2022 quarter-finals], I think that came after me.
"I'm just feeling more tired in the court in these last two games. But that's not an excuse. I think it's a little bit of everything."
The sensational nature of Doncic's early-season production did not concern him, however.
"I don't watch these statistics," Doncic said. "Nowadays you have a statistic for everything. Whoever drinks one espresso and scores five points gets the record. I don't follow it."
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd spoke pre-game about the side's need to spread the load more, which will likely take on greater urgency after Dallas' successive losses.
"Nothing yet," Doncic replied when asked if Kidd had brought that up with the team. "We had back-to-back [games], we haven’t had much time. We're going to discuss it for sure."
Kidd added after the game: "If we keep this up, then he will not be human if he gets past Christmas. So, one or the other is going to show: he's human or not – and we believe he's human."
Doncic is averaging 33.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. His scoring production is well up on his NBA career average of 26.7.
Luka Doncic (348 points, 82 rebounds, 81 assists) is now the 2nd player in NBA history to record 325+ points, 75+ rebounds, and 75+ assists through their first 10 games of a season, joining:— NBA History (@NBAHistory) November 10, 2022
Oscar Robertson (1962-1963): 326 points, 93 rebounds, 95 assists pic.twitter.com/A2Myp3Q8US