May 24, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The Mavs' Luka Doncic dominates Game 5 despite illness and knee injury

The Mavs' Luka Doncic dominates Game 5 despite illness and knee injury

LOS ANGELES — Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic got an early start to his postgame treatment on Wednesday night, wrapping a large bag of ice around his sprained right knee midway through the fourth quarter.

Doncic had already put the finishing touches on his best performance in the first-round series. He scored 35 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists despite playing through illness and injury to lead the Mavs to a 123-93 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in a pivotal Game 5, hours after he admitted he “probably wouldn't” play with his head twisted. Knee if this is the regular season.

“It's the playoffs,” said Doncic, who had been out with a cold for several days and hurt his knee in the first quarter of Game 3. “When you get going in the playoffs, it's different. There's a lot of adrenaline.” “A lot of emotions, so you have to keep going.”

Doncic was especially dominant in the third quarter, when Dallas extended a 10-point halftime lead to 20. He had 14 points and 3 assists in the quarter, playing all but 8 seconds.

Doncic continued to struggle with his jump shot, making 2 of 8 on three-point attempts to fall to 26.3% from long range in the series. But he made 12 of his 18 attempts inside the arc, scoring 20 points in the paint.

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“Obviously my shots are not great. Not even good. Very bad actually,” Doncic said. “I was just going downhill. The first four second 3's I took were amazing, and I couldn't make it, but my whole mindset was going downhill.”

As was the case in the Mavs' previous two wins in the series, Doncic also excelled on the defensive end of the floor, where he struggled mightily in Dallas' Game 4 loss on Sunday.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Clippers were 3 of 12 from the floor when Doncic was the primary defender in Game 5, including 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

“I always talk about his resiliency,” said Mavs co-star Kyrie Irving, who scored 14 points and had six assists. “He's not feeling 100 percent, but he's still going to go out and play. For me as a teammate, I enjoy that. I enjoy being around someone like that who's going to push himself but also be smart and still make an impact. In the game and he's still empty.” His province, as we like to say, even though he is not feeling well or unable to be 100%, he is still able to lead our team in his own way.

It was the fifth 30-point, 10-assist performance of Doncic's postseason career. Other players in franchise history have combined to accomplish this feat only twice, with Steve Nash and Mark Aguirre each having one playoff performance.

Doncic, who shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the first time this series, scored or assisted on 61 of the Mavs' 123 points to help the Clippers on the brink of elimination.

“We knew at some point that Luka was going to play with Luka,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We're not going to keep our heads down. We've got to win four games. We're going to Dallas, Game 6 on Friday and we'll be ready to go.”