Current Indiana Pacers and former Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was on the show “Green Light with Chris Long” where he talked about a bevy of topics surrounding the world of basketball. One topic of conversation that was talked about was on Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic and the impact he has on the game as he is currently in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Carlisle was Doncic's head coach from 2018-2021 with the Mavericks as he saw the player that would develop and turn in to a star. He would tell the hosts of the podcast about an unexpected skill set which is being able to “play above the rim” and “turn on the burners” when needed.

“The thing that you learn about him very quickly particularly when you have a chance to work with him, coach him, is that he is super big, super strong, unbelievably quick, and extremely fast,” Carlisle said. “Now it doesn't look like he plays fast, but he can turn on the burners, and he is an amazing athlete and he can play above the rim too. He doesn't do it very much because he's mastered the game you know on the ground and just by leaving the floor just slightly because that's how he controls the leverage of players that are bumping him and stuff like that. That's why he's able to finish and get and-1’s so much.”

There is no doubt that offensively, Doncic is one of the more gifted players in the league and potentially all-time as he is still 25-years old with a lot of career left in front of him. However, it has been a frustrating NBA Finals for Doncic and the rest of Dallas as they are down 0-3 in the series.

Doncic receiving criticism for his Game 3 NBA Finals performance

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after a play against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter during game three of the 2024 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game 3 took the cake for the most disappointing game for Doncic as besides scoring 27 points, recording six assists, and collecting six rebounds, he fouled out of the game with four minutes and change left in the game. The outing also showcased some defensive lapses from the star and was involved in multiple arguments with the referees even when the play was still going on, an aspect that prompted ESPN's Brian Windhorst to criticize his performance.

“I thought it was perfect that Luka fell onto the ground there in an unacceptable position to put himself in with four minutes left with five fouls,” Windhorst said. “And then immediately looks at the bench and says, ‘You better bleeping challenge it,' as if its the bench’s fault that he just made a terrible play. I’m standing here in the Mavericks’ tunnel. Over there is the Celtics’ tunnel. That’s where the winners are. If Luka is ever going to be a winner coming out of this tunnel here, he’s going to have to use what happened in this Finals as a learning experience.”

“His defensive performance is unacceptable. He’s a hole on the court. The Celtics are attacking him. They are ahead in this series because they’ve attacked him defensively,” Windhorst continued. “And you’ve got a situation here where Luka is complaining about the officiating. They have begged him, they have talked with him, they have pleaded with him—he’s costing his team because of how he treats the officials.”

Doncic critical at officiating in Mavericks loss to Celtics

Doncic would speak to the media after the game and one of the more viral soundbites from the press conference was his slight jab at the officiating. He would say that himself and the Mavericks as a whole “couldn't play physical” and expressed that the referees should be “better than that.”

“I mean, I don’t know. We couldn’t play physical so, I don’t know. I don’t want to say nothing but [a] sixth foul in the NBA Finals when I basically am like this?” Doncic said when demonstrating why he was frustrated with his sixth foul via CBS Sports. “Come on, man, better than that.”

Windhorst would point out Doncic's words after the Game 3 loss in the NBA Finals and took issue with how he handled himself to the public eye. While Doncic is 25-years old as mentioned before, the ESPN analyst would say “he's nowhere close yet” which could imply his maturity in trying to win a championship.

“The fact that he came out after the game and blamed the officials showed me he’s nowhere close yet,” Windhorst said. “So maybe over the summer someone will get to him because nobody with the Mavericks or anybody in his life has, and that’s why the Mavericks are at this point. They’re never going to this tunnel with the trophy if he doesn’t improve those aspects of his game.”

Jason Kidd talks what the Celtics are doing against Doncic

There is no doubt that in the heat of the game, Doncic let his emotions out as it could have been amplified even more since Dallas was already down 0-2 in the series with a must win contest on their home floor. While the mountain seems too tall to climb, they will not give up as what the Slovenian-born star needs to do better in is on defense as said by Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd according to

“Yeah, he’s definitely got a bull’s-eye on his chest,” Kidd said. “He’s got to be able to guard and understand that we’re there to protect him and help him if he does get beat.”

Doncic still believes the Mavericks can do what no team has done before

How tough of a hill is it to climb for the Mavericks? Well, there has been no team in the history of the NBA to come back from a 0-3 series deficit. The team that almost did was funny enough the Celtics who were down that much to the Miami Heat in the Easter Conference Finals last season, won three straight games, but could not get the job done. Doncic will keep believing “until the end.”

“Just like we did before. In the regular season there was a time we were very low, we lost 5 or 6 in row. From there we went up, I think we went 17-2 to get into the playoffs,” Doncic said Thursday. “I know that is the regular season but it was a kind of point where we all came together and the chemistry from there went to the top. And we just got to believe, we talk about it in the locker room and I know we can do it and I'm going to believe until the end.”

Dallas will look to get at least one win and extend their life in the NBA Finals series on their home floor as Game 4 will take place Friday night.