Mavs coach Rick Carlisle admits he played Luka Doncic ‘too many minutes’ after struggling in loss to Spurs
Dallas Mavericks rookie sensation Luka Doncic had a rough shooting night against the San Antonio Spurs, and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he might have played the 20-year-old too much.
Doncic was questionable to play throughout the day in Tuesday’s contest versus the Spurs due to a left knee strain. Eventually, he got clearance to take the court.
However, it was clear that the young forward was not in his usual self, something that Carlisle also noticed as he shouldered the blame for the rough patch the Slovenian had.
“He didn’t look right … and I probably played him too many minutes,” Carlisle said, via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News:
Luka Doncic played 38 minutes, shooting 5-for-18 from the floor overall, including 1-for-7 from 3-point range. Nonetheless, that wasn’t the oddest part of his line: that honor undoubtedly goes to his 1-for-9 effort from the free-throw stripe, a striking anomaly from the rookie who entered the day at 72 percent on the year.
Ultimately, Dallas fell to the Spurs with Doncic recording 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists, as well as an eye-popping nine turnovers.
By many measures, it was potentially one of Doncic’s worst performances of the year, coupled with the Mavs picking up their sixth straight loss and fourth straight by single digits.
Carlisle’s post-game comments don’t bode well for the chances of Doncic logging a full workload in Thursday’s match-up against the Denver Nuggets. Doncic was forced to sit out the last time that the two teams locked horns on Feb. 22, having gone for 23 points and 12 assists in their one meeting on Dec. 18.
It’s likely that the Mavs will exercise extreme caution with the 20-year-old down the stretch as the playoffs are out of reach in 2018-19, with all eyes focused on getting their young core to the promised land come 2019-20.