Hardaway Jr. on Doncic: ‘Everybody knows that he is our leader’

Luka Doncic is a special player who had another strong season for the Dallas Mavericks. Doncic led the Mavericks in points(27.7), rebounds(8.0), and assists(8.6) per game this season. The two-time All-Star was a constant for the Mavericks.

At one point, the Mavericks(42-30) were 9-14 and struggling after 23 games. However, they closed the season 33-16 to capture the fifth seed in the Western Conference, which set up a rematch with the Clippers(47-25) in the first round of the playoffs. 

The 22-year-old Doncic is the Mavericks best player, and according to Tim Hardaway Jr., he’s also the team’s leader. 

“I think just him handling adversity with us,” Hardaway Jr. said. “Being 8-14, 9-14 and making our way back into the playoff picture, and getting the fifth seed toward the end of the season. He was remarkable…

“He’s doing a lot better. I would say that leadership-wise, and a guy being a general out there on the floor for us. Everybody knows that he is our leader. He’s been our leader for the whole season, and we’re just doing the best we can to make his job like I said, a lot easier throughout this whole entire process, so yes, he is our leader.”

Last season, Dallas lost to the Clippers in a competitive series, which the Clippers won in six. Both teams are different. For Los Angeles, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have another year together, and also they have a new voice on the bench in Ty Lue. When you look at Dallas, they have a healthy Kristaps Porzingis, who missed games four-six with a knee injury last season against the Clippers, so that should help.

Dallas won the season series 2-1, but that does not mean much come playoff time. Before losing the final two games of the season, where they rested most of their starters, the Clippers were 8-4 in their previous 12 games, while Dallas finished the season winning six of eight. 

Both teams are relatively healthy, but the Clippers are the better team; however, it’s a close matchup. Los Angeles has the experience, which will be enough to defeat the Mavs in seven. 

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