The Dallas Mavericks lost to the LA Clippers in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. They won three games in the series and were this close to knocking out one of the championship favorites, but it was not enough in the end. Superstar Luka Doncic had 46 points and 14 assists in a history-making Game 7, but that alone did not complete the task.
The 22-year-old was never the problem. He averaged 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in 40.1 minutes per game in his second NBA playoff series. Doncic shot 49.0 percent from the field and 40.8 percent on his threes, despite drawing nearly all the Clippers’ defensive attention. The Mavericks superstar brought it in every game and proved he is one of the NBA’s best players.
No word captures the performance of Luka Doncic. Here is a closer look at his incredible seven games against the LA Clippers and what it means going forward.
No words do justice to how good Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was vs. Clippers
The LA Clippers may have the best perimeter defensive lineup in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard has made the All-Defensive team six times. Paul George and Rajon Rondo have each been honored four times. Patrick Beverley has three to his name too, but it did not matter. No matter who went against Doncic, they could not stop him. He had three 40-point games. His 35.7 a night leads all playoff scorers. Luka was from another planet in the most difficult games.
Dallas outscored the Clippers by seven points during his 281 minutes on the floor during the series. LA had a 43-point edge in his 55 minutes on the bench. The Clippers were the better team, but Doncic was the best player on the court. Dallas had a 118.3 offensive rating with Luka on the floor against one of the best defenses in the NBA.
Kawhi Leonard may be the best defender in the league. He drew the primary responsibilities against Luka in the final two games. It slowed the 22-year-old slightly, but stopping greatness is impossible. See Doncic nail a mid-range jumper with Kawhi’s hands in his face from Game 7 below.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/06/06/0042000177/356/4b7f995d-6d9a-8005-7b26-aefe817d4596_1280x720.mp4
What is crazier is Luka was not making that shot in the bubble. The Mavericks superstar added mid-range counters to help him score when he cannot get all the way to the rim this season.
That is the unfathomable thing about Doncic. He was so outstanding that finding the words to describe his performance is impossible, and yet, the 22-year-old can still be so much better. Luka must make his free throws. He went just 27 of 51 in the series from there. Expect Doncic to add even more to his arsenal this summer as he makes his case for the league’s best player in 2022 and beyond.
The Dallas Mavericks need to improve their roster to become legit title contenders. Luka Doncic deserves zero blame for losing in the first round in 2021. The 22-year-old was unbelievable, but he did not get enough help. Owner Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson must find the pieces that push them to the next level this offseason. Fans will not want to miss it, so stay tuned.