Mavs Star Luka Doncic Gives Grim 2-Word Update on Health

Mavericks star Luka Doncic gave a grim update on his health ahead of Game 5.

Getty Images Mavericks star Luka Doncic gave a grim update on his health ahead of Game 5.

The Dallas Mavericks won’t have superstar Luka Doncic at 100 percent as they head into a crucial Game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Doncic is dealing with a knee sprain. The team has listed him as probable, although that might not be a great indication on how he’s feeling. Doncic was asked if he would play if it was a regular season game and he responded, “Probably not.” Doncic injured his right knee during the first quarter of Game 3.

“Not good,” Doncic told reporters ahead of Game 5. “It’s a little better, but it is what it is.”

Doncic is averaging 29 points, 9.8 reboudns and 8.5 assists in the first round series. The numbers are great but he’s shot just 38.6% from the field and 26.5% from deep. He shot 48.7% from the field in the regular season and hit his 3-pointers at a 38.2% clip.

The Mavs fell behind by 31 points in Game 4 before nearly mounting a comeback. However, the Clippers were able to pull out the contest 116-111 to even the series at 2-2. Doncic didn’t use his knee issue as an excuse.

“It’s hurting, obviously,” Doncic said after the loss. “But it shouldn’t be an excuse. Just came out sloppy. We’ve got to be way better than that.”

Luka Doncic, Mavs Focused on Quick Start

The Mavericks have started slow in both their losses during the series. LA also build a massive 56-30 after the first half of Game 1.

“This is like Game 1, early [in the] game. For whatever reason, we just haven’t played well. We’ve gotten off to slow starts,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “We played better in the second half, so that’s just something we’ve got to talk about as a team. If there’s another afternoon game, we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go from the jump, and we can’t wait.”

Both Doncic and his co-star Kyrie Irving have talked about aggresion and the physicality of the playoffs. It’s a different game and the Mavs have to be prepared.

“It really centered around the foundational point of talking about physicality and this being the playoffs,” Irving said after the Game 1 loss on April 22. “A lot of guys aren’t used to being here. A few young guys aren’t used to being here, so they don’t know what they can get away with and what the refs are going to call.”

Clippers Will be Without Kawhi Leonard for Game 5

Health is also an issue for the Clippers, who will be missing Kawhi Leonard for a second straight game. Leonard is treating inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. He missed the final eight regular season games with LA in addition to Game 1 of the series.

James Harden and Paul George picked up the slack in Leonard’s absence. The star duo combined for 66 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds in the Game 4 win.

“I’m blessed to be able to change it up and be a facilitator or a scorer,” Harden said. “My mindset coming to this team was doing whatever it takes to win and get to the end goal. Whether that’s scoring or facilitating, I think it goes possession by possession and game by game.”

Leonard is still expected to be on the bench in street clothes, which head coach Ty Lue says is an asset for the Clippers.

“I mean he keeps himself involved,” Lue said on Tuesday, April 30. “Just being in the shootarounds, being in the practices, understanding what we’re trying to do.

“So when guys make mistakes, when they come out of the game, he can talk to those guys and let them know. And then also let them know what he sees as well with PG and with James. And he’s been really vocal. He’s helped us out a lot even though he’s not playing.”

The Mavericks are a 3.5-point favorite on the road for Game 5.

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