Dallas Mavericks: Why Luka Doncic struggles in the fourth quarter

Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

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Luka Doncic has been the Dallas Mavericks leading scorer from the moment he joined the team. It is no secret. He is their star player. Coach Carlisle wants the ball in Luka’s hands late in games.

Defenses know this too. They sell out to stop him in the fourth quarter. Consider this play as an example. As Doncic beats his man off the dribble, four Pelicans crash to try to stop him.


The Lakers do it again here. Look at the perimeter just before the ball leaves Luka’s hands. Maxi Kleber, Seth Curry, and Dorian Finney-Smith are wide open as four Lakers crash into the paint.


These are just two examples of many where the defense totally collapses on Doncic as he probes into the paint. The 21-year-old excels in there. He sinks 72.8 percent of his 324 field goal attempts in the restricted area this season. It dips only slightly to 71.4 percent in the fourth.

Doncic does not get there as frequently, though. He has just 56 tries in the fourth quarter from the restricted area and 324 total on the season.

Teams adding the extra attention makes Luka think about more step backs to create that bit of extra space to get off his shot. He needs to find ways to beat the additional defenders when they come.

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