This will be very short. It’s going to be short for two reasons: The first is that I slept later than I meant to and have work to get done. The second is because I don’t know how much I can say before I’ll be beating a dead horse.
Last night the Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105–102. The Mavs lead the series 3-2, and game six will be in Dallas tomorrow (Friday, June 4) at 8:00 p.m. Central time, and will give the Mavericks an opportunity to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since they won the NBA titles in the 2010–2011 season. But let’s not talk about Friday when I personally haven’t fully processed last night yet.
Luka had 42 points, 14 assists, and 8 rebounds. The Mavs’ Time Hardaway, Jr. had 20 points of his own, but was the only Mavericks besides Doncic to hit double digits. Perhaps most impressively, Luka scored or assisted on 31 of the Mavericks’ 37 total possessions. Think about that. That means Luka was in some way responsible for 84% of Mavs’ scoring possessions. Eighty-four percent! Nuts.
And here’s the thing: other than Luka, no one really played very well. Lots of missed buckets, bobbled passes, low-energy defense (at first; that eventually balanced out), and just a general appearance of a team that’s going to get beat. And in the fourth quarter, even Luka himself ran into some issues; of his 42 points, only 2 came in the fourth quarter. But luckily Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis hit big 3s on back-to-back possessions, and the Mavericks played their best defense of the night.
The surprise move of starting 7’4″ teddy bear Boban Marjanovic seemed to help a bit, too. Marjanovic had a -9 rating overall, but his presence inside seemed to befuddle the Clippers at first, leading them to take off-balance shots near the rim that gave Dallas some early momentum. But ultimately, the show was Luka’s. After the game he wasn’t thrilled with his play (though admittedly his fourth quarter was rough, so maybe that was just what was on his mind at the time), but he really played well. I mean, he’s 22 years old and scored 42 against Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, so I feel like that’s a pretty good game.
I want everyone to know I read this through three times and took out all the stuff that was over-the-top fangirlish in regard to Luka so this would sound more like a real article instead of a 13-year-old girl’s diary entry, but I do want to finish with this thought: Luka Doncic is the real deal. He deserves all the praise he gets, just like the other young stars such as Trae Young, Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, and Nikola Jokic. Watching him play basketball is a physically and spiritually uplifting event, ultimately only spoiled by the final score on occasion. I hope that Mavs’ management can keep him in Dallas for his entire career, but even more than that I hope he continues to be so fun to watch.
I’ll see y’all tomorrow for Game 5.