Luka Doncic reveals 'big key' for Mavericks' winning that can't be overlooked

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks recently closed the regular season with a 50-32 record. Down the stretch, the Mavericks played some of their best basketball since the Luka Doncic era began. The team closed the season on a 16-4 record in their last 20 games with two of the losses coming in the final two games of the season when the team was resting players.

For what seems like the last few weeks of the regular season, Dallas has been projected to play the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. With the two officially being matched up against each other, this will be the third time in five seasons these two rivals will face off in the first round.

Despite the Mavericks losing the previous two playoff series with the Clippers, this could be the best chance the Mavericks have at beating their longtime rival. With an untimely injury to Kawhi Leonard, the Mavericks could be looking to make a deep playoff run.

A lot of eyes will be on Mavericks star Luka Doncic as he could be robbed of winning his first MVP award. Despite potentially losing out on such a prestigious award, Doncic is focused on the upcoming playoff series against the Clippers.

Luka Doncic says Dante Exum is 'big key' for Mavericks' winning

One player who could be an X-factor for the Mavericks in this upcoming playoff matchup is Dante Exum. Since signing with Dallas, Exum has predominantly come off the bench but has excelled in every role the team has asked of him.

When asked about the importance of Exum and why he is key to winning, Doncic responded by saying, "He was very important, obviously he still is. His defense, his place on the offensive end, and his shooting. People try to dare him to shoot but he's been working...He's been a key if not one of the big keys to our winning."

Exum has consistently come up huge for Dallas and even nailed the game-tying 3-point shot at the buzzer to tie the Houston Rockets. Off the bench, Exum has also been the Mavericks' primary point of attack defender, and in a series that features Clippers guard Russell Westbrook, Exum's role could be larger than fans realize.

Exum's size, in tandem with his elite shot-making ability, will make him a great matchup against Westbrook. Fans shouldn't be surprised if they see Exum go minute for minute with Westbrook and some of the other Clipper guards.

Since signing with the Mavericks, Exum has shot 49.1 percent from behind the arc on just over 100 attempts. This will be Exum's toughest test of his career, but if he can continue being a constant shot-maker and defender, we could see him elevate into a starting role.

For more updates on Dante Exum, Luka Doncic, and the Dallas Mavericks' upcoming playoff series against the LA Clippers, stay plugged in.