Mavs star Luka Doncic reacts to beating Paul George, Clippers in OT
After missing the last three games due to knee and ankle sprains, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic returned in a big way. The Mavs guard put up 26 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, and two blocks in an overtime win over Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers repeatedly sent doubles at Doncic all night, but didn’t execute their defensive game plan anywhere close to how Tyronn Lue and the coaching staff wanted. Doncic picked the Clippers apart repeatedly, finding the short-roll man, often Maxi Kleber, who found guys like Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Tim Hardaway Jr. for open shots.
“I wasn’t satisfied,” Tyronn Lue said of his team’s defensive rotations after doubling Doncic. “We didn’t do it right. Just coming off the wrong man out of our fires, and then we did clean it up and then we didn’t rotate to the corner a couple times. I think the biggest thing — I might’ve overreacted when he made a couple 3s, trying to get going or whatever, and we started firing and they pretty much picked us apart, so, we blitzed him, we switched, we showed, we did everything, we fired at him and they pretty much picked us apart, so, I’ll take the blame for that.
“Luka’s a great player, he puts you in tough situations. When you try to double-team him, when you try to fire, he’s gonna make the right play.”
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After the game, the young Mavs star spoke about his return to the court.
“I mean mentally, I was really happy to be back,” Luka Doncic said following the Mavs win. “I miss basketball. I know it’s only been three days but like I said in the morning, will do everything possible to play the game. I felt great after I woke up from my nap. I was just ready to go.”
Doncic and the Mavs’ training staff had been hard at work the last couple days to return from the sprains. Reports of a re-aggravation during Monday’s practice turned out to be overblown, as Doncic not only returned, but played 41 minutes in a game that went to overtime.
“I was tired,” Doncic laughed. “And overtime in the first game back, it was tough. But we got a win, that’s all that matters. I was happy.”
The Mavs split their two road games against the Clippers. Both teams will see each other again on Feb. 10 and 12 in Dallas.