Mavs’ Kidd: ‘We gotta get better in that third quarter, and we will’

The Atlanta Hawks came into the 2021-22 season trying to prove that last season’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals wasn’t a fluke, while the Mavericks, with a new coach in Jason Kidd, are hoping to make a deep playoff run of their own. 

After one game, Atlanta looks deeper than they did last season and a team that will definitely be a factor in Eastern Conference. The Hawks had six players in double figures led by Cam Reddish’s 20 points off the bench, Trae Young had 19 points and 14 assists, and John Collins 16 points and nine rebounds as the Hawks routed the Mavericks 113-87 at State Farm Arena on Wednesday night.

The Hawks were big-time on the defensive end; they held the Mavericks to 33% shooting from the field and forced 15 turnovers. Atlanta blew the game open in the third quarter with 22-8 run. The Hawks led by as many as 22 points in the third and had their largest lead of 30 in the fourth. 

Young got off in the third. He scored 12 points and nine assists in the quarter, and Kidd, who knows a lot about excellent point guard play, talked about Young’s passing and Dallas’ struggles in the third.

“He’s improved, and I said that before,” Kidd said about Young. “He’s gotten better each year on the one side of passing the ball and not turning it over… “In the first half, we couldn’t ask for a better defensive performance. We just couldn’t make any shots. You’re talking about an All-Star in Young.. We gotta get better in that third quarter, and we will.”

Doncic, who led the Mavericks with 18 points on 6/17 shooting from the field, added on the third quarter: “They were making shots, and we weren’t making shots. They played great defense, and we weren’t at their level on defense, so that’s it.”

The Mavericks may struggle initially as the team learns to adjust to Kidd’s new offense and style, and it’s only one of 82, so there’s not much to worry about at this point. Plus, Atlanta appears to be a very good team.

Dallas gets back at it on Saturday in Toronto against the Raptors. 

 

 

Mavs’ Doncic on Kidd: ‘It’s terrific for me to learn from a guy that was a champion here as a player’

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has come back to the place where it all started for him professionally. Kidd, who was drafted by the Mavericks and ultimately won a championship with the team in 2011, was hired by Dallas after former head coach Rick Carlisle resigned back in June.

One guy who is excited to play for Kidd is Mavericks star Luka Doncic. The two-time All-Star thinks he can learn a lot from Kidd, who is a Hall of Famer and one of the best passers in NBA history.

“It’s terrific for me to learn from a guy that was a champion here as a player, playing the same position as me,” Doncic said at Mavericks’ Media Day on Monday. “He was one of the best passers in the NBA, and I’m really excited.”

Kidd is excited to coach Doncic as well, and he compared him to the great artist Picasso. However, Doncic, who averaged 27.7 points and 8.6 assists per contest, was ball dominant at times last season and must do a better job of getting others involved, which Kidd wants to help him do.

“I don’t know if anybody told Picasso that he has to use all the paints, but I just want to remind him that he can rely on his teammates,” Kidd said. “His teammates are going to be there to help him. I’m very excited to have this opportunity to work with a young Picasso whose paintings have been incredible up to this point and are only going to get better.”

Kidd was also an amazing leader and led the Nets to back-to-back Finals appearances, and Doncic, who signed a five-year, $207 million contract in the offseason, is hoping to improve in the area of leadership.

“Obviously, I learned from the playoffs and from the Olympics on how to be a leader,’ he said. “One thing I learned is I have to be more a vocal leader for the team.”

The Mavericks are hoping that the Kidd-Doncic pairing will pay dividends this season and beyond. Doncic has a world of ability, and at 22, it will only get better, and with Kidd’s help, hopefully for Dallas, that means the Mavericks can win a championship soon.

Mavs’ Luka Doncic dedicates two basketball courts in his hometown(VIDEO)

In partnership with the Municipality of Ljubljana and Dallas Mavericks All-Star Guard Luka Doncic, 2K Foundations has refurbished his childhood court.

The refurbishment also includes brand new seating and lighting.

The artwork featured on the court was designed by Doncic, who chose local graphic designer Nejc Prah to bring his design to life. Doncic’s new logo integrates Luka’s initials (LD), his jersey number (77) and arrows that represent his deceptive style of play with negative space revealing an ‘S’ for his home country, Slovenia.

“This is a very exciting day for me.  I have great memories growing up in Ljubljana.  These are my childhood courts where I learned and practiced the game,“ said Doncic. “It’s an honor to be able to give back to my city and to my country that gave me so much and that I love.  The opportunity for kids to play on the same courts and pursue the same dreams I had is something I am excited about.”

As part of the celebration, Luka signed the court, officially dedicating it to the community, and local children were then invited to participate in basketball scrimmages, 3-on-3 games, dribble clinics and skills challenges. MVPs of the challenges were judged by Luka and others while Jordan Brand and BioSteel, who both work with Dončić provided prizes and equipment on the day as well.

Photo Credit: Medimat Agency

Mavs’ Doncic on extension: ‘I always wanted to sign this’

After three seasons, Luka Doncic has established himself as one of the best players in basketball, and on Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks paid him like one. The team announced that they had extended the contract of the two-time All-NBA First Team guard.

It’s a five-year deal worth $207 million, which is the largest guaranteed rookie extension in NBA history. Doncic is the first and only super-max eligible player to sign this deal based on making All-NBA First Team in two of his first three seasons.

Doncic, who gave indication back in June that he was going to sign the extension with Dallas, is happy to get his new contract.

“It’s a really special moment here,” Doncic said at a press conference in Slovenia to announce the deal. “Thank you to Dallas for offering me this. I still kind of don’t know what to say because I never imagined this happening. I was only dreaming to only play in the NBA, but now I can sign an extension with the Dallas Mavericks for five more years, which I never had a doubt about. I always wanted to sign this.”

Last season was tremendous for Doncic. He averaged a team-best 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, a team-high 8.6 assists. Doncic was even better in the playoffs as he increased his scoring average to a league-best 35.7 points to go along with 7.9 rebounds and a team-high 10.3 assists.

Doncic, 22, was the youngest player in league history to earn multiple All-NBA First Team selections. He also started his second straight All-Star Game in 2020-21, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to start multiple All-Star games before his 23rd birthday. 

Additionally, the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft had a special Olympic run. He recorded the third-ever triple-double in Olympic history and almost carried Slovenia to the gold medal game.

At this point, the Mavericks have to find ways to build around their young star. In the past two seasons, Dallas has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. With new GM Nico Harrison and a new head coach in Jason Kidd, Dallas has to get to that next level. 

They were very reliant on Doncic last season, and at times the ball stopped when it got into his hands, so they have to do a better job of diversifying the offense, including getting Kristaps Porzingis more involved.

On paper, Dallas, who re-signed Tim Hardaway Jr. and brought in Reggie Bullock, is not a championship team, but maybe they have a few more moves in the offseason that could get them to that spot. 

Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Curry, Leonard, Doncic named to First Team All-NBA

League MVP Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Luka Doncic were named to the 2020-21 All-NBA First Team, the league announced on Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo was the only player to receive All-NBA First Team votes on all 100 ballots, earning his third consecutive First Team selection and fifth All-NBA Team honor overall. Jokic, the first player to be named the NBA MVP as a member of the Nuggets, received 99 First Team votes to make the First Team for the second time in the last three seasons. Curry, who averaged an NBA-leading 32.0 points this season, received 98 First Team votes in his fourth selection to the First Team and seventh All-NBA Team honor overall.

Leonard was voted to the All-NBA First Team for the third time and earned his fifth All-NBA Team selection. The 22-year-old Doncic has been selected to the All-NBA First Team for the second season in a row. He is the first player to make the All-NBA First Team at least twice in his first three NBA seasons since Tim Duncan (three times from 1997-98 – 1999-2000).

The 2020-21 All-NBA Second Team consists of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

The 2020-21 All-NBA Third Team is composed of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, Clippers forward Paul George, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.

James has extended his league record for most All-NBA Team selections to 17, including a record 13 selections to the First Team, three to the Second Team, and one to the Third Team. Paul has been voted to the All-NBA Team for the 10th time, the second-most among active players behind James.

This is the sixth All-NBA Team selection for Lillard and George, the fourth for Gobert and Butler, and the third for Embiid and Irving. Randle and Beal have each been selected to the All-NBA Team for the first time.

Mavs’ Doncic named to All-NBA First Team

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named to the 2020-21 All-NBA First Team, marking the second straight year he has garnered All-NBA First Team honors, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

Doncic becomes the youngest player in league history to earn multiple All-NBA First Team selections. He joins Kevin Durant, Rick Barry and Max Zaslofsky as one of four players to garner multiple All-NBA First Team accolades before age 23. The third-year guard also joins George Gervin, David Thompson, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Penny Hardaway and Tim Duncan as one of seven players since the ABA/NBA merger (1976-77) to earn two-or-more All-NBA First Team selections within their first three seasons.

Doncic averaged a team-best 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, a team-high 8.6 assists and a team-high 34.3 minutes in 66 games (all starts) this season. He ranked sixth in the NBA in scoring, 21st in rebounding and fifth in assists, finishing in the top 25 for all three categories for the second year in a row.

The Slovenian led the NBA in 30-point, five-rebound, five-assist games (22) and 25-5-5 efforts (38). He led Dallas in points, rebounds and assists in the same game 22 times (including ties), the second-most times a player led his team in all three categories in 2020-21 (behind the 28 times the league MVP Nikola Jokić led Denver in all three this season).

Doncic climbed into 11th place on the NBA’s all-time triple-doubles list in 2020-21 (36) and is eight triple-doubles shy of passing Fat Lever (43) for 10th place all-time. He scored 25-plus points in a career-high 14 straight games (1/22-2/14), setting a new franchise record for most consecutive 25-point efforts. He also hit two game-winning 3-pointers with under a second remaining (2/23 vs. BOS; 4/14 at MEM).

The 22-year-old started his second straight All-Star Game in 2020-21, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to start multiple All-Star games before their 23rd birthday (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas, Barry). He was also named the Western Conference Player of the Week three times (1/4-1/10; 3/29-4/4; 4/19-4/25), joining Dirk Nowitzki (four times, 2009-10) as the only players in franchise history to garner the award three-or-more times in a single season.

In the postseason, Doncic increased his scoring average to a league-best 35.7 points to go along with 7.9 rebounds and a team-high 10.3 assists while logging a team-high 40.2 minutes in seven first round games against the L.A. Clippers. He joined Russell Westbrook (37.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 10.8 apg, 5 first round games vs. HOU, 2017) as the only players in NBA history to average at least 35-7-10 in a playoff series.

Doncic is now averaging 33.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 9.5 assists through 13 career playoff games. Not only is he the sole player in NBA history with career playoff averages of at least 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game, but he has now surpassed Michael Jordan (33.4 ppg) for the highest career scoring average in postseason history (min. 10 games).

Mavs’ Carlisle on Doncic: ‘I think he’s proven he’s a top-5 player in the world’

The Dallas Mavericks season ended against the Los Angeles Clippers for the second straight year in the first round of the playoffs. This time, the Mavericks fell to the Clippers in 7 as they lost 126-111 at Staples Center on Sunday.

Despite the loss, the Mavericks did make improvements. Last season, they were the seventh seed in the Western Conference. However, this season, they were the fifth seed in the West. Last season, they lost to the Clippers in the first round in six. This season, they lost to Clippers in seven.

Also, Luka Doncic, who had 46 points, 14 assists, and seven rebounds on Sunday, is becoming one best players in basketball. In the regular season, Doncic, 22, averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game.

However, as the great ones do, they up their game in the playoffs. Doncic averaged 35.7 points, 10.2 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game in this series against the Clippers. Also, according to mavstats, Doncic accounted for 33.7% of Dallas’ points in the series, the highest percentage in any series in Mavs history (previous record: Dirk’s 32.2% vs. DEN in 2009 West Semifinals).

According to his head coach Rick Carlisle, Doncic’s performance in this series solidifies him as a top-five player in the NBA.

“Even before this series started, I think he’s proven he’s a top-5 player in the world,” Carlise said after the game. “This series certainly validates that. And we’ve just got to keep building the team around him…Luka is an amazing player. I don’t think there’s anybody that would dispute that.”

Kawhi Leonard added on Doncic: “Oh, man, you know, he did everything. I don’t know how many 40-point games he had; I believe three, three, or four. You know, shooting it very efficiently from three for sure off the dribble shots. You know, just doing it all for his team. You know he’s a great player, and you’ll see him for many years to come. He plays at his own pace, and he makes it look easy out there.”

Doncic was the best player in this series, and If he continues at this pace, he could very well be the best in the NBA.

Clips’ Leonard on big Game 6 performance: ‘I didn’t want to go home’

For the first time in NBA playoff history, the road team has won the first six games of a series as the Clippers defeated the Mavericks 104-97 in Game 6 at American Airlines Center to even up their best-of-seven first-round series at three.

Both teams have won three straight on the road, and Game 7 is Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles.

The biggest reason we will have a Game 7 is the play of Kawhi Leonard. The two-time NBA Finals MVP led the Clippers with a postseason career-high 46 points on 18-25 shooting, including 5/8 from three-point range. Leonard had 29 points in the second half, including 17 points in the third quarter.

“Like I said, I didn’t want to go home,” Leonard said after the game. “I had to assert myself into the game. My teammates found me. I got some open looks and knocked them down. I just kept going from there. I stayed in trust with my teammates.”

Clippers head coach Ty Lue added on Leonard: “Great players perform in big moments. He was taking the challenge, guarding Luka [Dončić] the whole game. I thought our coverage was great. He played 42 minutes and guarded their best player, who is a hell of a player, for the whole game. That just shows you who Kawhi Leonard is.”

Leonard was a force on Friday night, which Mavs star Luka Doncic, who had 29 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, and a career-high four steals in Game 6, acknowledged after the game.

“He destroyed us,” Doncic said about Leonard. “That’s what it is. He had a hell of a game. That’s what he does. He had a hell of a game.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle added on Leonard: “The fact that he had the energy offensively to hit those shots down the stretch — the majority of which were very difficult — is something to behold.”

It’s win or go home, and Carlisle expects his team to be ready for Game 7.

“So, we’re headed for Game 7,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for our team. I don’t know if any of the guys in our locker room other than maybe [JJ] Redick have been in a Game 7. We’ll be excited, and we’ll be ready.”

Doncic added: “It is Game 7. It doesn’t matter where you are. You have to leave everything on the court. That’s it. It is Game 7.”

Usually, you favor the home team in a Game 7, but clearly, this is not your typical series and based on how this series has played out, maybe you favor the Mavericks. Who knows, but one thing is sure, it’s probably going to be fun.

Notes:

-Paul George had 20 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks tonight for Los Angeles in Game 6.

-The Mavericks welcomed their largest crowd of the season to American Airlines Center, with 18,324 fans in attendance on Friday night.

-With his father, five-time All-Star Tim Hardaway Sr. in attendance, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points on 9-19 shooting. Hardaway Jr. now has 20+ points in four of the six games in this series.

-Doncic ranks second in the NBA this postseason amongst all scorers with 34.0 ppg, only slightly behind Portland’s Damian Lillard (34.3 ppg).

-Kristaps Porzingis had seven points and five rebounds on Friday night, and despite not being a focal point of the Mavs’ offense, Porzingis is trying to stay positive.

“As you said, I am just trying to make an impact with what I can on the defensive end and helping the team however I can,” he said. “I got decent looks tonight. It is what it is. Sunday is going to be a war, so we have to be prepared.”

 

Luka Doncic on 42-point performance in Game 5: ‘I mean, I got to play way better’

After three quarters on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the first round series between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers, Mavericks star Luka Doncic was 16/29 from the field, including 6/9 from three-point range with 40 points and 12 assists, and the Dallas Mavericks had an 89-75 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

However, in the fourth quarter, Doncic and the Mavericks went cold. Doncic shot 1/8 from the field, including 0/3 from downtown, and finished with only two points in the quarter. The Clippers were able to cut the lead to one late in the game, but with a chance to take the lead, Nicolas Batum would miss a layup with 39 seconds left, and after two Tim Hardaway Jr. free throws, Kawhi Leonard would airball a corner three, and the Mavericks would defeat the Clippers 105-100 at Staples Center to take a 3-2 series.

The Mavericks have won three straight in Los Angeles and can close out the series in Game 6 on Friday night in Dallas.

Doncic finished the game shooting 17/37 from the field with 42 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds, and Hardaway Jr. had a bounce-back game with 20 points. Paul George had 23 points for the Clippers, Reggie Jackson and Leonard added 20 points apiece.

Doncic had a monster game and became the first player since 1997-98 to record 40-plus points and 10-plus assists through three quarters of a playoff game. But according to him, he could have been better.

“I mean, I got to play way better,” Doncic said. “I missed a lot of shots, some layups that I should make. But it wasn’t just me, man. It was the whole team, the energy, Boba(Boban Marjanovic) was unbelievable, DP, Dwight Powell, with his energy, KP(Porzingis) with a big shot, Timmy(Hardaway Jr.) with a big shot. The whole team was just there bringing up the energy.

Doncic was battling a neck strain in Game 4, and he clearly looked uncomfortable, but that was not the case in Game 5, and he explained why.

“The most important thing was rest and, like I said, massage,” Doncic said. “Today, I was feeling way better.”

After Dallas won the first two games in Los Angeles, you thought the Clippers were done, and after the Clippers won the next two in Dallas, you thought the Mavericks had blown the series.

Now, following their win in Game 5,  Dallas seems to be in control. Time will judge that, but it will be fascinating to see how the Clippers respond in Game 6.

Mavs’ Doncic: ‘I was 100%, but I played terrible’

After winning the first two games of their first-round series against the Clippers in Los Angeles, the Dallas Mavericks appeared to be in complete control of this series. However, that was then; this is now.

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Paul George chipped in with 20 points and nine rebounds as the Clippers routed the Mavericks on the road 106-81 in Game 4 to even the series at 2. 

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Luka Doncic, who was listed as questionable for Game 4 due to a cervical strain, was 9/24 from the field and finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and six assists on Sunday night. The 19 points was his lowest-scoring performance of the playoffs in his career.

Despite the injury, Doncic, who clearly was in pain, made no excuses after the game. 

“I don’t think that matters right now,’ Doncic said. “We lost by 20, and injuries are part of basketball. I was 100%, but I played terrible. So, we just have to move on to the next one.”

While Doncic said he fine, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle disagreed. According to Carlisle, he hopes the few days off will help Doncic’s injury. 

“He’s in pain,’ Carlisle said. “It appeared to me that he couldn’t turn left, could look to his left, couldn’t turn his head to the left. That’s difficult for a guy that relies on peripheral vision and basically has played his whole life with his head on a swivel. We’ve got to hope in the next couple of days that he can get better — hopefully substantially better.”

Not having Doncic at his best hurts the Mavericks, but give the Clippers a lot of credit; they turned things around in Dallas. They made adjustments. Ty Lue inserted Reggie Jackson in the starting lineup in Games 3, and he put Nicolas Batum in the starting lineup in Game 4. Both moves paid off for Los Angeles. 

The Clippers are playing well right now, but Lue knows this series is far from over.

“We still haven’t done anything yet; it’s a good start for us going down 0-2 at home,” Lue said. “Coming out and being able to win two on their floor. So, now the series is tied up, and we’re going back home, and we’ll try and take care of home-court advantage. On Wednesday and just keep it going from there and continue to keep building momentum.”

Dallas had an excellent opportunity to seize control of this series, and they could not do it. Now, it’s the best of three. The Clippers have two of the final three games at home and have all the momentum. The Mavericks will need a healthy Doncic to be able to regroup and try to win this series.

Notes:

-The Mavericks welcomed their largest crowd of the season to American Airlines Center with 17,761 fans in attendance on Sunday night.

-Kristaps Porzingis had a bounce back performance in Game 4. He had 18 points on 7-12 shooting to go with 5 rebounds and a block. Porzingis scored only nine points in Game 3.