Something is off with Luka Doncic and it’s killing the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages

On Monday night, the Dallas Mavericks opened up their second-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road.

Dallas hung around in the first half as they only trailed 63-52 at halftime and kept it close in the third quarter, but the Thunder blew the game open in the fourth quarter and ended up winning 117-95.

Kyrie Irving had a solid game as he finished with 20 points while shooting 7-14 from the field and 3-4 from downtown, but Luka Doncic couldn’t get anything going.

Something is off with Luka Doncic and it’s killing the Dallas Mavericks

Doncic finished with 19 points while shooting 6-19 from the field, and he clearly wasn’t himself, even early on. He started the game off with a couple of tough buckets with Lu Dort guarding him, but he was hobbling up and down the floor, and it was clear that it was going to be a long game for him.

Doncic’s shooting struggles continued into the Thunder series, and he ended up shooting 1-8 from downtown. Normal shots that Doncic typically drains with ease, he has been missing. Over his last five games, Doncic has shot 5-35 from three and his struggles are definitely starting to become concerning.

These struggles definitely stemmed from the knee injury that he suffered in Game 3 against the LA Clippers of the last series. Doncic’s game on both ends of the floor has been affected negatively by this knee injury, and his struggles are killing the Mavericks.

Irving is able to take the load off Doncic’s shoulders in spurts, but the Mavs’ lack of a third scorer is what makes it so hard for the Mavericks to win when Doncic struggles. Tim Hardaway Jr. was Dallas’ third scorer early in the season, but he has been struggling for the last couple of months and his struggles continued into Game 1 against the Thunder.

Doncic not being healthy could make or break the Mavs’ playoff run depending on how he responds later in this series, but his knee doesn’t seem to be getting better. Doncic admitted this after Dallas’ Game 6 win over the LA Clippers, and it was hindering his performance even after several days of rest before Game 1 last night.

Only time will tell if Doncic can find a way to get back to the domination we saw from him during the regular season, but this is going to be an uphill battle to take down the Thunder. Mavs fans are used to seeing Doncic be the best player on the floor at all times, and his knee injury has been preventing him from being that lately.

The Mavericks have been heavily reliant on Doncic for nearly his entire career, and it'll be interesting to see how they respond in Game 2.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned.