Luka Doncic on being fouled in NBA Finals Game 3: ‘We couldn’t play physically’

DALLAS — As the fourth quarter began, Mavericks star Luka Doncic committed two fouls and his team trailed the Celtics by 15 points.

Fast forward almost eight game minutes, and completely different circumstances have developed. Dallas bounced back in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, edging Boston by just three points. And Doncic was fouled out and gone for good.

Four whistles in the fourth quarter, the final game, against the league’s best player. This is the third time Doncic has been out of a game — regular or postseason.

“(It’s) never happened to me, I don’t remember,” said Doncic, who was suspended from the 106-99 loss with 27 points. He talked about being called for four fouls in eight minutes.

“We just couldn’t play physically,” Doncic added. “I don’t want to say anything. You know, six fouls in the NBA Finals, basically I’m like (makes palms out). Come on, man. Better than that. “

Dallas trailed by 21 in the fourth and went on a 20-2 run when Doncic was called for his sixth and final foul at 4:12 of the fourth. He was guarding Jaylen Brown, and Doncic looked like he was staying in front of Brown but there was contact. Dallas challenged the call, and head referee Mark Davis said Doncic did not establish stance when Brown ran into him.

“I don’t think it was a mistake; I don’t think any of us did,” Derek Lively II said.

Brown also drew Doncic’s fifth foul with some questionable contact between the two players. Dallas coach Jason Kidd was asked why he didn’t call Dancic for his fifth foul, and he said, “Maybe we should have called all of them.”

See also  Russian drones kill 4 at Ukraine shelter, rival summits end

“We probably did something a little bit different on his fifth foul to give our defense a little more time to set up and get him into a game,” Kyrie Irving said. “But hindsight is 20/20. We have to wash our hands of it and get ready for Game 4,” he said.

The Mavs, now trailing the Celtics 3-0, had a 13-point lead heading into Game 3. Doncic, who finished with 35 points, and Irving curled up, and after Boston joined the party, the Mavs still held a 1-point lead at halftime.

Doncic struggled, making just 11 of 27 shots. He’s 1-of-7 on 3s with 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and is playing with a bruised chest that requires injections for pain. Doncic seemed labored at times during Game 3 — at least one reason for some of the fouls he drew.

“He’s definitely got a bull’s-eye on his chest,” Kidd said. “He can protect and understand that we are there to protect him and help him if he gets hit.

“Again, he’s carrying a load offensively,” Kidd continued. “They put him in every pick-and-roll and iso. He needs to be able to play a game where he can relax on offense and let others carry the load.

“I think we should have played with the same energy, had the same guys in there. We were rolling,” Doncic said. “But they came back. We were down 21 at times in the fourth quarter and we came back. We’re still going to believe until the end.

Required reading

(Photo: Tim Hedman / Getty Images)

Leave a Reply

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