Luka Doncic didn’t get pleasure from himself in Sport Three of the Mavericks’ Western Convention first-round playoff matchup with the No. 2-seeded Clippers.
The 130-122 loss damage, in fact, however so, too, did two ankle tweaks that pressured him out of the competition late. The 21-year-old additionally exchanged phrases with LA middle Montrezl Harrell, an indication of his rougher edge.
However at the same time as Doncic gutted by means of his third profession playoff recreation, he nonetheless appeared actually good. Like, traditionally good.
Doncic continued his Robinson-to-Duncan, Favre-to-Rodgers kind of ascent for the Mavericks, taking the Dallas star mantle from Dirk Nowitzki and operating with it. He recorded a triple-double in 29 minutes with 13 factors, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It is changing into clear that like Nowitzki earlier than him, he will be each bit nearly as good of a postseason participant as a regular-season producer.
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The important thing phrase for Doncic remains to be “potential,” no matter what he does now. There have been so many star fall-offs in NBA historical past — for bodily and psychological causes — and it might be untimely to crown somebody this younger a Corridor of Fame-caliber participant like Nowitzki. That mentioned, it might be troublesome for Doncic to play a lot better towards a title-contending Clippers group at this age. Mavericks followers needs to be thrilled with what his early postseason returns imply, and the way they stack up with Nowitzki’s early years.
Doncic has been superior to Nowitzki by means of his first three postseason video games regardless of being within the NBA for much less time and being youthful throughout his preliminary style of playoff motion.
A have a look at that head-to-head comparability:
Dirk Nowitzki first three playoff video games
Sport 1: 20 factors (7-of-20 taking pictures), 12 rebounds, three turnovers, one help in 48 minutes. Loss.
Sport 2: 15 factors (Three-of-11 taking pictures), 4 rebounds, two turnovers, two assists in 46 minutes. Loss.
Sport Three: 33 factors (9-of-19 taking pictures), 10 rebounds, two turnovers, two assists in 48 minutes. Win.
Luka Doncic first three playoff video games
Sport 1: 42 factors (13-of-21 taking pictures), 11 turnovers, 9 assists, seven rebounds in 38 minutes. Loss.
Sport 2: 28 factors (Eight-of-17 taking pictures), eight rebounds, seven assists, one turnover in 28 minutes. Win.
Sport Three: 13 factors (Four-of-14 taking pictures), 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two turnovers in 29 minutes. Loss.
Nowitzki wound up successful that first playoff sequence — vs. the Jazz in 2001 — which can be a troublesome feat for Doncic to match. He additionally had a unique trajectory than Doncic, rising into his greatness at a slower tempo.
The top end result for Nowitzki was one thing few gamers in NBA historical past have replicated: 12 All-NBA nods, an MVP and an NBA title. Now it is time for Doncic to start shaping his personal Mavericks legacy within the footsteps of a mentor.