Why Luka Doncic is forced to walk on eggshells with the officials for final month
Luka Doncic had 13 technical fouls going into Sunday's 130-126 loss to the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center. He was third in the NBA only behind Draymond Green and Dillon Brooks. If Doncic picked up three more, he would automatically be suspended for one game.
With just 3.5 seconds remaining in the game against the Suns, Doncic picked up his 14th technical foul. Doncic missed a game-tying shot right at the rim, and Devin Booker had something to say about it.
Although Booker claimed that he was talking to the official, something was said that Doncic didn't like. He retaliated to this by going nose-to-nose with Booker. A double technical foul was issued before players from both teams, coaches, and officials separated the two players.
Why Luka Doncic is walking on eggshells with the officials for the final month of the season
This was Doncic's 14 technical foul, and he is just two away from being suspended for one game. This is exactly what the Mavericks don't need. Dallas is sitting at seventh in the Western Conference, and if the playoffs started today, they'd be playing in the Play-In Tournament.
Fourth through tenth in the Western Conference are separated by 4.5 games, proving that anything can happen in the standings in the final month of the season.
Doncic is the obvious leader of the team and avoiding a suspension is crucial for himself and the Mavericks as they make their playoff push with 17 games remaining. Every game matters in March and April and having Doncic miss one due to suspension could have severe consequences.
The Mavericks are 3-7 without Doncic this season and will need him for every game going forward if they want to avoid playing in the Play-In Tournament.
Although Luka was in the same situation last year as he finished the season with 15 technical fouls and avoided suspension, this is still not a good look for the Mavericks' star.
To avoid missing a game, Luka Doncic will have to tone back his jawing with the officials and keep his cool with opposing players if things get chippy. Although this is a doable task for number 77, as he proved that he can tone things back when necessary, only time will tell if he does it this year.