The Dallas Mavericks haven’t found as much success as they may have hoped this season. After a magical run to the Western Conference Finals last year, they are just 24-21 so far this season, which is good for fifth place in the West standings (yet only 2.5 games out of 12th place).
They’ve lost four of their last five games, including two losses in a row to Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. While Luka Doncic didn’t appear in the second game, he played in the first, falling short of a win. After that contest, Lillard spoke about the difficulties of containing Doncic.
“That’s not a one-man job. Luka is a great player,” Lillard explained in an interview with Brooke Olzendam of the Trail Blazers. “He does the same thing to everybody. He’s going to come out, you know, he had a 60-point triple-double this year, he scores 40 seems like every night, so it’s important that we make it a team effort. We gave him a lot of attention. We sent two guys on him all night. That can be exhausting. To have two guys in your face and you gotta be willing to trust your teammates, and I think we would lose to other guys hitting shots than lose to him. They couldn’t sustain it tonight, but tomorrow is a different story. We’ve just got to look at what we did well tonight and repeat it tomorrow and just know that they’re going to come harder.”
In Dallas’ first loss to the Mavericks, Doncic put up 15 points, six rebounds, and 10 assists. However, the Trail Blazers held him to 7-of-19 shooting from the field and 0-of-5 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Unfortunately for Dallas, Doncic wasn’t available to play in the second game against Portland, which the Mavericks also lost. Lillard played extremely well in that contest. He poured in 40 points, three rebounds, and six assists per game on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor and 4-of-9 shooting from distance.
Luka Doncic is Fond of Mavericks Rookie Jaden Hardy
While Lillard, and the rest of the NBA, are in awe over Doncic’s impressive play, the Slovenian superstar is focused on his teammates. While he may not have a true co-star, there are some promising pieces on the Mavericks.
“Amazing,” Doncic said of Hardy. “He gave us the pace. He was just attacking all the time. They couldn’t stop him. He’s a great player, and you can see it.”
Christian Wood Praises Partnership With Luka Doncic
And despite Doncic’s lack of a true co-star, Christian Wood has filled in nicely, doing his best to occupy that role. The two are getting along well, too. Wood recently spoke highly of his partnership with Doncic.
“They [the team] just trust me,” Wood explained via Landon Thomas of Mavs Fans For Life. “They said keep shooting it, and I think the next couple possessions, I got two more open looks after that. So, Luka, me and him have some weird connection. He just tells me to just keep shooting it. He trusts me to shoot it. These guys trust me to make big shots and make big defensive plays and I’m starting to do that as of late… We [Wood and Doncic] just go together like ice cream and fudge, I guess.”