LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — Luka Doncic also faced double-teams. Occasionally, he saw rivals taking turns guarding him. Or sometimes, they entrapped him at halfcourt.
It made no difference. Doncic led the majority of the time regardless.
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 113-103 in Game 1 at Staples Center on Saturday, a triumph that earned the Mavericks home-court advantage due to two developments that became apparent during last year’s playoff matchup. Although the Clippers have been a perpetual underachiever, Doncic has managed to grow into a superstar.
Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle has said that this was his time of the year and Luca Doncic is one of the most astute basketball players one can ever see at any stage or age.
Doncic registered himself as the 9th player in the history of the NBA to log multiple 30-point triple-doubles in the postseason. Only the following have similar statistics in comparison to Doncic:
1Oscar Robertson (8)
2Charles Barkley (2)
3Jimmy Butler (2)
4LeBron James (15)
5Russell Westbrook (6)
6Stephen Curry (2)
7James Harden (2)
8Wilt Chamberlain (2)
Doncic has said that he hopes that he is at his best, but he thinks that there is a long way to go. I asserted that it is only his third season and he has much to learn.
He has now acquired a great deal of knowledge. Doncic, 22, has already been named NBA Rookie of the Year, has appeared in two All-Star games, and has established himself as one of the league’s most alarming players. Doncic had two other 30-point performances against the Clippers last season in their six-game first-round set.
Doncic also sank a game-winning three-pointer in Game 4, a move Carlisle compared to what LeBron James or Larry Bird might do. Doncic continued to cause the Clippers headaches less than a year back.
Doncic was lined up against Clippers center Ivica Zubac in plays that finished with him finishing at the rim, hitting a step-back shot, or pulling up from low. Before driving to the basket, Doncic posted up an undersized Patrick Beverley. Doncic sized up Paul George and Zubac, and he feasted on them as well. And when the Clippers turned, Doncic drove by them or nailed deep shots.