Famous NBA analyst makes boneheaded Luka Doncic take amid NBA Playoffs

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Lu Dort
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Lu Dort / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks have made just their second conference semifinals since 2011. The last time they reached that stage in 2022, they made it as far as the Western Conference Finals. This year, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the stumbling blocks to their dreams of returning to the Western Conference Finals.

Despite holding the home-court advantage, the Thunder are prime upset candidates. Some folks peg Dallas as the likely winner of the series. For instance, NBA legend Paul Pierce offered his bold prediction that the Mavs would eliminate Oklahoma City, citing Luka Doncic's and Kyrie Irving's body of work.

Naturally, there are people who side with the Thunder, believing the team is the No. 1 seed for good reason. Oklahoma City's ability to defend Doncic and Irving is also seen as a key factor in the matchup.

Charles Barkley makes boneheaded Luka Doncic take amid NBA Playoffs

Among those who believe that the Thunder have the advantage is Charles Barkley. He offered his prediction on a recent episode of "Inside the NBA," placing his bet that it would be a long series with Oklahoma City coming out on top.

The major reason behind Barkley's argument? He thinks Lu Dort will wear down Doncic. 

Barkley even shared his ludicrous take that the Slovenian superstar will be an easier matchup for Dort than Ingram was. In the previous round, the Thunder held the New Orleans Pelicans forward to averages of 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists per game, and 34.5 percent shooting from the field.

There's no doubt about Dort's defensive acumen. His coach, Mark Daigneault, is even high on his abilities so much that his bold approach to limiting Doncic in the Mavs-Thunder matchup is ensuring that Dort will be on time for each contest.

For one game, though, it seemed to have worked. Oklahoma City blew out Dallas in the series opener 117-95. Notably, Doncic managed to record just 19 points, marking the first time since 2021 that the five-time All-Star failed to score at least 20 in a postseason match.

While Dort did appear to make it tough on his rival on some possessions, Doncic also seemed affected by a knee injury that has persistently bothered him for a while now. Of course, he won't blame it on his less-than-optimal health and would likely give some credit to the Thunder swingman, who he named as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA today.

Doncic might have his hands full in the coming games, but fans should anticipate him to bounce back from a bad evening. After all, he has historically had Dort's number, averaging 32.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game in their seven previous face-offs.

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