Luka Doncic showed the heart of a heavy weight champion, with such an awe inspiring performance Sunday afternoon. During his first playoff appearance the 21 year old is playing like a seasoned veteran, only to be matched by some of the greatest basketball players of all time like Charles Barkley and Oscar Robinson. This was the first time since 1993 that an NBA player scored 40+points, grabbed 15 rebounds and ten assists in the postseason, the last player to achieve this incredible feat was Charles Barkley who at the time had already played almost a decade in the NBA.
Doncic, who has just turned 21, is already playing at the level of Charles Barkley, a level that took him years to build up to.
Luka Doncic with his game 4 winning three pointer has proven himself to be the new superstar of the NBA, putting the Dallas Mavericks in position to beat the LA Clippers, one of the teams picked to be the favorite to win the NBA Finals at the start of the season. Doncic refused to lose. Everyone who watched him sprain his ankle in the game 3 loss was expecting the Mavericks to fold, but just like a heavy weight prize fighter Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks showed grit, to get back up, fight back and punch the Clippers in the mouth with this incredible victory. Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks have become the surprising headline, the underdog Cinderella story that the NBA desperately needed.
Halfway through the fourth quarter when the Mavericks were up by ten, Doc Rivers put Kawhi Leonard on Doncic defensively, but I am so glad that Doncic did not guard Leonard on defense as well. Doncic cannot hold Kawhi, he is too big and strong and Kawhi with his bigger defensive presence stifled Doncic on offense, forcing him to shoot highly contested shots. This crucial switch on defense allowed the Clippers to comeback to tie the game and have a shot at the end of the game to win. Kawhi however was outside of his free throw line extended sweet spot and missed the potential game winning shot.
Role players have stepped up big for both the Clippers and the Mavs, with Lou Williams and Seth Curry both having career days. How about Trey Burke, welcome to the party with 25 points and five rebounds, he stepped up bigtime for the Mavs, and where is Paul George? He has not scored over twenty points in a game this series, he is getting shut down and being paid way too much money to be playing so poorly. After getting man handled by the Clippers in game 3, you have to give Rick Carlisle some credit substituting Maxi Kleber in at center for Boban Marjanovic during crunch time in the fourth quarter and overtime. Even though Boban grabbed seven rebounds, he is too slow to keep up with the Clippers slashing into the paint, and he is kind of soft as well getting dunk on last game Landry Shamet, Shaq would not have let that happened. Even with the Mavericks supposed superstar Kristaps Porzingis out of the game because he got beat up to badly in game 3, Doncic has proven himself to be the superstar and leader of the Dallas Mavericks.
Though Maxi Kleber lacks the offensive skills of Porzingis he is more of a traditional big man for the NBA and traditional big men win Championships, not some seven footer out by the three point line. Porzingis is weak, it is the playoffs man, everyone is hurting, do you not think that Doncic was not hurt all game after that nasty ankle sprain in game 3? Champions play when they are hurt, like Michael Jordan with the Flu or Isaiah Thomas against the Lakers, they were willing to die out there on the court, that is the heart of the champion. Doncic had to have a historic performance to beat the Clippers today, the Clippers could still very well win the series with Kawhi Leonard. If Porzingis does not man up and get out there and play, the Mavericks probably will not be able to handle the grueling uphill climb of the playoffs. Dallas does not have any bangers in the paint, which is another reason why the traditional role of the big man will never go away, but at least Maxi Kleber and Dallas bench have proven that they can win without Porzingis.
I have been watching basketball religiously since the summer of the 1992 NBA Finals and the Barcelona Olympics, and since that time I have only witnessed a handful of players refuse to lose, even when they get knocked down they get back up and fight and find a way to win. Doncic has proven himself to be one of those special talents, time will tell if he will become a champion but in such a short career he is already in the same sentence as Oscar Robinson and Charles Barkley, it is extremely impressive, it does not matter who your team is, if you love the game of basketball you have to enjoy watching Luka Doncic right now, even if you are a Clippers fan. Personally, I’m a Lakers fan and I love to see Kawhi cry, “Why!?” and the Clippers lose. I thought that the Lakers and the Clippers would roll like the tide through the first round of the playoffs and I expect both the Clippers and the Lakers to still win their series, but the fight that the Mavericks and the Trailblazers have shown have made this first round incredibly exciting. Remember this is just a silly game,
I hope you and your families are well during the Covid Playoffs. God bless you – kg