Wednesday night marked Luka Doncic‘s return to the Dallas Mavericks‘ starting lineup. Doncic had missed the team’s previous five games as he battled a nagging thigh injury.
The Slovenian star led Dallas in scoring against the Golden State Warriors. He poured in 30 points and dished out 17 assists in the 127-125 loss to the Warriors.
After the defeat, Doncic’s teammate Jaden Hardy explained that he was happy to have him back.
“All of the attention is on Luka when he’s out there. They’re going to try to double him,” he said via Sports Illustrated’s Grant Afseth. “Those are good times me to get downhill to try to make a play for my teammates or go score the ball, and just being able to knock down the open shots when I see them.”
Hardy scored 27 points off of the bench on Wednesday. He credited Doncic for setting him up with open looks throughout the night.
“Just my teammates finding me and me being in the right place at the right time. LD is going to find you, so it’s just getting ready to knock them down whenever it comes to you. I think my teammates did a good job today finding me when I was open, and I just happened to knock them down.”
Warriors’ Steph Curry Discusses Mavs’ Luka Doncic
Doncic’s immediate impact not only caught the attention of his teammates, but also the opposition. Warriors star Stephen Curry broke down the effectiveness of the 24-year-old, when speaking to reporters.
“I mean, for the most part, we put him on the free throw line too much in the first half. But Luka is interesting,” Curry said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “He’s going to get his numbers because he’s good, first and foremost, but they have a team formed around him that gives him a lot of space, and he’s great at picking and choosing his spots. Whether he’s looking for a shot or putting pressure on you in the paint to kick out to shooters. They made 17 threes off of a lot of his gravity, so you got to live with some of that stuff, and you got to live with him having big numbers because, again, he’s that great, and he has a lot of opportunity.”
Jason Kidd Name Drops Luka Doncic After Mavs Fall to Warriors
The Mavs came up just short against Golden State. They were unable to stop Curry from dropping the game-winning basket, and then failed to convert on the offensive end with a chance to tie the game.
Head coach Jason Kidd discussed the end of Wednesday’s game, during his postgame press conference.
“You look at the split of being able to try to corral Curry. It’s not easy, and he made a heck of a play by driving it,” Kidd said via the Fanatics View YouTube channel. “The read that Luka and Reggie [Bullock] had was the right read. They top-locked. We’ll take the quick two, and now we’ll play the free throw game. Understanding that we got a good look, it just didn’t go down for us.”