The Dallas Mavericks lost to the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Kawhi Leonard and his team took the series in seven games, but it was clear Luka Doncic was the best player on the court.
Doncic was from another planet in the series. He had three 40-point games, handed out double-digit assists four times, and had one triple-double in the first round. Luka averaged 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game against the Clippers. It was a superstar validating performance from the 22-year-old.
ESPN’s experts voted on MVP of the first round of the playoffs. There were plenty of worthy performances, but it was Luka Doncic who took the crown, despite the Mavericks losing the series. Here is a closer look.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic named MVP of the first round by ESPN
Luka averaged 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game during his first playoff experience inside the bubble. The Mavs forced the series to six games, but the Clippers advanced. He was incredible in 2020 before taking his game to another level this year.
Doncic improved his 3-point shooting and added a deadly mid-range game to make him unstoppable. The Clippers were heavily favored entering their first-round series with the Mavericks, but it was Dallas that won the first two games in Los Angeles. They also went up 3-2 after winning Game 5 at the Staples Center.
Luka was pulling all the strings. The Mavs outscored the Clippers by seven points in the 281 minutes with Doncic on the floor. LA dominated the 55 minutes with the Mavericks superstar on the bench. Dallas was outscored by 43 points in those minutes. Luka was the MVP of the first round and validated his place as a top-five player in the league.
Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will be looking to take the next step in 2022. The organization must improve the roster around their star. Expect Luka to add a few new tricks as he looks to lead the team on a deep playoff run. The future is bright, so stay tuned.