The Dallas Mavericks had superstar Luka Doncic back in the lineup on Tuesday night, but an ugly fourth quarter cost them a win over the Nets. They scored just 13 points in the final 12 minutes as Kevin Durant led a furious comeback from down 17 to a 102-99 Brooklyn victory.
Doncic finished with 28 points, nine assists, and six rebounds after missing Saturday’s game against Memphis. He was playing through pain and still put up monster numbers.
Hall of Famer and member of the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team Reggie Miller was on the call for TNT on Dec. 7 where he offered Doncic plenty of unsolicited advice. Here is a closer look at Miller’s two areas of criticism of the Mavs superstar.
Reggie Miller says Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic must learn to deal with officials
Fans know Doncic has a habit of barking at the referees about what he feels are missed calls. Head coach Jason Kidd even called out the 22-year-old superstar for doing it too much after the Mavs loss to the Pelicans. Miller had this to say about the topic.
"I was a guy, who especially early on in my career, I had a knack for getting early technicals. It cost me, and it cost our team early. Until I learned how to deal with the officials is when the Pacers really took off. Because you have got to be professional and approach them in a professional manner."
Doncic had 15 technical fouls last season and was just one away from a suspension. He has already picked up five this year.
Miller is spot on that Luka needs stop complaining about no calls and just play. The 22-year-old superstar can discuss the issues with the referees during stoppages in play, but he needs to get back on defense and help his teammates. The technical fouls are unnecessary and not helping Luka or the Mavericks in any way.
Reggie Miller believes Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic must handle his weight
Miller also challenged Luka’s weight in the first quarter on Tuesday night.
"To me, looking at him, this is the heaviest I’ve probably ever seen Luka look, right now. I know he’s had a long year with the Olympics, but look how he’s plodding up and down. He’s not really running."
Miller also questioned if Doncic’s recent injuries had something to do with him being too heavy. The topic was brought up again later in the game with Harlan and Miller shifted the focus to his weight causing conditioning issues in the fourth quarter.
The 22-year-old was two of five from the field and had six points, one rebound, and one assist while playing the final nine and a half minutes on Thursday night, but fans have seen Doncic wear down late in games.
Tim MacMahon reported that Luka came to camp weighing north of 260 pounds for the second straight year. Doncic acknowledged postgame that he’s “got to do better”.
It has been a slow start for two straight seasons, and Doncic’s lack of game shape has played a factor. Fans should expect his play to improve when the 22-year-old gets his weight down.
Hall of Famer Reggie Miller did not hold back on the TNT broadcast on Dec. 7, and he was right. Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic needs to get his conditioning under control and keep his emotions in check. The 22-year-old and his team will both benefit from Doncic fixing those issues. Expect them to be part of Luka’s focus moving forward.