The Dallas Mavericks are currently 5th in the Western Conference with a 19-10 record. Coming off blowing a 30 point third-quarter lead against the Toronto Raptors and eventually losing 110-107. It was the fourth game that Luka Doncic missed due to a sprained ankle that he suffered against the Miami Heat on December 14, 2019.
The Mavericks would fall 122-118 in overtime to the Heat, and after the game, Jimmy Butler shared that he thought Luka Doncic was ‘sneaky athletic.’
“He is tough, he does everything well, and he gets everyone involved, shoots it, gets to the rim, sneaky athletic too. If I had to say that if I had to watch somebody to pay to watch, he goes in that category,” said Butler.
Although Doncic has been out, the Mavericks have won 2 out of five games against the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadephia 76ers, and three losses to the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors have all be close games down the stretch.
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Two Former NBA Coaches Weighed-in on the Dallas Mavericks
During the broadcast of the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson praised the Mavericks for their play this season thus far.
Jeff Van: I think Dallas is really good. I don’t think they will have to wait until next year or the year after. I think they have to think about themselves as a championship-caliber type team,” said Van Gundy.
Mark Jackson: I did them a week or so ago, or two weeks ago. It is an outstanding team, and that was without Luka [Doncic], who is a bright-bright guy who is going to be around a long time.
JV: He is incredible, but I think they played like you said without him with the depth that they have assembled [Kristaps] Porzingis played well, their depth has played well. I know everyone [point] that they lost a 30 point lead in Toronto, but to get up 30 in Toronto shows you the type of team they had. All without [Luka] Doncic.
MJ: I said during the game, Luka [Doncic], to me, is the combination of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. He is an absolute superstar and a franchise talent.
Mike Breen also shared during the broadcast that Luka Doncic is leading the league in triple-doubles this season with eight, thus far. On Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle shared with the media after practice that Doncic was a full participant in practice and was upgraded from doubtful. Wednesday afternoon, ESPN’s Tim McMahon shared that the Mavericks have listed Doncic questionable for Thursday match against the Spurs at the American Airlines Center.
Earlier this year, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin shared Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is the type of dynamic duo you want to start your franchise with during an interview with Fanatics View.
“They both are in their early 20s and they both have incredible skill when they play basketball in terms of passing, dribbling and shooting and it seems like they have a natural rapport already. Having played only a handful of games together, so when you look at the league since the Golden State Warriors broke down a little bit this summer it is wide open and in a couple of years the Mavericks could be in championship contention,” said McMenamin.