Luka Doncic is “exhausted” after the Mavs fell to the Thunder despite a 30-0 record

DALLAS — Mavericks star Luka Doncic was exhausted, emotionally exhausted, very proud and very agitated as he walked off the court at American Airlines Center after a thrilling, emotional outing Saturday night.

One night after becoming a father for the first time, Doncic helped Dallas rally from a 24-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead, but the Mavs failed to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dallas’ 30-0 surge — the NBA’s biggest since at least 1997-98, according to Elias Sports Bureau — and Doncic’s 36-point, 15-rebound, 18-assist performance wasn’t enough for the Mavericks. To avoid a 126-120 loss to the Thunder.

“It was the happiest day of my life with the baby, but today’s game was a big rollercoaster as well,” said Doncic, who wrote his daughter’s name, Gabriella, on one of his signature Jordan Luca 2 sneakers. “I’m so sad we didn’t win that game, but man, we tried so hard.”

The Thunder responded to the Mavs’ tremendous run by scoring 15 of the game’s final 18 points, including the final 10. Doncic committed two turnovers in the final 87 seconds, including a traveling call with 1:27 remaining that sparked his ire.

“My view is that it may have been travel, but those trips happen, in my opinion, about 20 times a game,” he said. “So, a minute and a half left, if you’re going to call this traveling for the first time in the game, you can’t do that. I don’t think so. But I think these trips happen a lot of times in one game and the NBA doesn’t book its trips, so I was Really surprised.”

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd declined to offer an opinion on the important travel call.

“I haven’t had a chance to look at it, so I can’t comment,” Kidd said. “I can’t afford the fine now.”

Doncic was even angrier after Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams passed him for the go-ahead basket with 41 seconds left, because he thought Williams “did the exact same thing” without being booed for walking.

“It made me angry,” said Doncic, who angrily confronted referee Mitchell Irwin after the final bell before another referee and the Mavericks crew stood between them to prevent the situation from escalating.

Doncic took responsibility for letting his frustration affect his focus in the final minute. After a timeout following a Williams bucket, Doncic intercepted an inbounds pass by Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who turned the turnover into a transition layup.

“This can’t happen,” Doncic said. He added: “We might have lost this game. The focus has to be there, but I was a bit tired.”

It was a disappointing end to a fine effort from Doncic, especially considering the circumstances. He said he got about four or five hours of sleep Friday night — the most he had in a few days — and doubted early in the first quarter whether he could handle his normal workload.

See also  Takeaways from Saturday's NBA playoffs: Mavericks lead in series, Celtics rebound strong

“Then I just said [Kidd], ‘I’m fine. “Let me go,” Doncic said, knowing the Mavs needed him to dominate to have any hope of beating Oklahoma City with Dallas’ second- and third-leading scorers Kyrie Irving (foot) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (back) among a handful. Of the rotating players sitting on the bench in street clothes.

Doncic played 46 minutes, the most ever in a regulation game. His only relief came midway through the second quarter. He scored or assisted 81 points, the most of any player in a game this season.

Doncic joins Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to have multiple games with at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Doncic, whose 59 career homers are tied with Larry Bird for ninth on the all-time list, has tallied all but three of the Mavs’ points during their 30-0 run. He scored seven points and had seven assists during the spurt, which began with Doncic finding two-way player AJ Lawson for a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 111-90 with 10:25 remaining and ended with Doncic making a layup in transition. A steal gave Dallas a 117-111 lead with 4:18 left.

“It was magic,” said Mavericks rookie center Derek Lively, who posted career highs of 20 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks while going 9-of-9 from the floor, including three off Doncic’s assists during the fourth quarter. . “I’ve got to give him the ball. He’s going to make some magic happen.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *