Mavs’ Luka Doncic gets ultimate praise from Rick Carlisle despite Game 6 loss
The Dallas Mavericks came up just short against the Los Angeles Clippers, losing Game 6 and the series on Sunday afternoon. Despite the loss, however, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said he was proud of how his team battled. Carlisle also praised second-year star Luka Doncic, adding he feels the 21-year-old will came back even better next season:
“He’s one of the toughest players that I’ve ever seen in this league, and that goes back 35, 36 years,” Carlisle said, via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “I expect he’ll come back next year even better with something new in his game.”
This series truly was a test of Doncic’s mental and physical toughness.
For starters, Luka had to contend with a very physical Clippers defense that looked to check him with the body every chance they got. Doncic was the beneficiary of a flagrant 2 foul from Marcus Morris on Sunday, leading to Morris’ ejection against the Mavs.
Doncic also had to fight through pain for the Mavs. He sustained a left ankle sprain during a Game 3 loss, rendering his status questionable ahead of Game 4.
Not to be denied, Doncic had one of the best individual games of the season, scoring 43 points while also adding 17 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 4. He capped the performance by hitting a buzzer-beater in overtime to even the series for the Mavs.
Luka’s heroics were not quite enough to push the series to Game 7 for the Mavs. Doncic labored through a tough Game 5 performance, but he scored 38 points and nearly had a triple-double in Game 6.
The Mavs might have lost this series, but Doncic turned heads with his performance, and also earned even more admiration and praise from his head coach.