The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 111-101 on Friday evening as superstar Luka Doncic struggled to find his shot. The 23-year-old made just five of his 20 field goals and finished with just 17 points, which was his fourth-lowest scoring total of the season. Luka showcased an improvement in his game, though.
Fans know Doncic has a tendency to argue with the referees, especially when he believes he was fouled on a drive to the basket. It has resulted in 32 technical fouls over the last two seasons with three being rescinded by the league office after the fact. His penchant for arguing has been detrimental to the Mavs, and head coach Jason Kidd even called him out for it earlier this season.
Doncic is just two technical from a one-game suspension after narrowly avoiding it last season, but the Mavericks superstar has a new method he is using to keep himself calm, and he let fans in on the secret during his postgame press conference in Philadelphia on March 18. Will singing work for Luka and help him avoid arguments with the referees?
Will singing stop Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic from getting technical fouls?
Doncic discussed his need to be better with the officials on J.J. Redick’s podcast The Old Man and the Three, so ESPN’s Tim MacMahon asked him about what he is doing to keep himself from avoiding those confrontations. Fans can see Luka’s response below.
"It’s a funny thing, I just start singing a song in my head. One of my first songs I pick and just start singing and let it pass. I think these last couple of games, I’ve been great with the officials. If I think there’s a foul, I just go to them and talk to them normal."
Tim MacMahon followed up by asking what songs as Luka noted, “it’s either Slovenian or Serbian songs”. He also let fans know he drew the inspiration from Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki.
Will Doncic singing stop him from getting technical fouls? So far, so good for the 23-year-old superstar. He has avoided them for four straight games, including Friday’s frustrating loss where Luka could not find his jumper. The 6’7 guard needs a way to calm himself down in the heat of the moment, and it appears singing is working for him.
The technical fouls are not the only way Luka's arguing with officials negatively impacts the Mavericks. Doncic yelling after a no-call often forces Dallas to try to defend five players with four as their superstar is still at the other end of the floor.
Luka needs to learn to pick his spots. He can talk to the referees about the calls during timeouts or when there is a pause in the action. Otherwise, Doncic should be focused on the game and the moment.
The Mavs need Luka to win, and he cannot afford to have lapses in his concentration or play. Avoiding arguments with the officials will fill one of the few holes in Doncic's game as he continues his quest to be the best player in the NBA.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is singing to himself to avoid confrontations with the referees, and so far it has helped him keep his emotions in check. The 23-year-old needs to avoid a one-game suspension down the stretch, so fans will find out how effective the new strategy is for Luka, but the early returns are positive.