Luka Doncic criticizes two key teammates ahead of Game 2 against Thunder

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks opened up their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road. The Mavs were coming off two dominant wins over the LA Clippers in the first round, and Mavs fans couldn't wait to see how Luka Doncic and company fared against the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

The Mavs started this series out against Oklahoma City with a disappointing 117-95 loss, and Doncic's struggles continued. Doncic finished with just 19 points on 6-19 shooting, and his knee injury continues to hobble him and limit what he can do.

Doncic had a strong start to the game, but later in the first half, it became increasingly evident that his knee was bothering him.

Luka Doncic criticizes Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II ahead of Game 2

Doncic wasn't the only player who struggled in this game, and he was transparent about two of his teammates who struggled in this game.

Dallas' two key big men, Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford, shot a combined 6-15 from the loss and had three combined turnovers. Both players were missing shots around the bucket that they typically make, and Gafford's inefficiency was obvious from early on.

He was missing layups at the rim, and despite his 16 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks, he could have played much better if he changed one thing. Doncic touched on this after the game.

"I think both D-Live and Gaff had a lot of reservation," Doncic said after Game 1. "We talk about playing off two legs and just go dunk it. If Chet's gonna be up there, there's gonna be a small down, and they both need to go and dunk that."

Doncic was 100 percent right about what the bigs should have done in Game 1, and this could be a big adjustment that the Mavs can make. If Chet Holmgren is pulled out on the perimeter, both Lively II and Gafford have to put emphasis on getting to the bucket and finishing with a slam.

Neither player is particularly great at scoring out of the short roll, but Gafford missed way too many bunnies at the rim that could have been dunks. Both Gafford and Lively II are great dunkers, and they have to get back to finishing strong above the rim in Game 2.

Lively II in particular has shown flashes of growth in scoring out of the short roll this season, and he even had a ferocious slam over Holmgren in one of Dallas' matchups with Oklahoma City earlier in the season out of the short roll.

By no means was Doncic saying this in a rude way towards his teammates, and the belief and trust in both bigs is undoubtedly still there. Both Lively II and Gafford will be key in this series, and only time will tell how they respond in Game 2.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, Daniel Gafford, and the Dallas Mavericks throughout their battle with the Oklahoma City Thunder, stay tuned.