luka doncic of the dallas mavericks
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Dallas Mavericks Lose Game One of Playoff Despite Luka Doncic Bagging 45 Points

Depending on one player can sometimes be dangerous in a team sport.

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luka doncic of the dallas mavericks
Image via Instagram/@dallasmavs

Depending on one player can sometimes be dangerous in a team sport.

When it comes to sports teams depending too much on individuals, especially in the world of the NBA, Luka Doncic’s importance to the Dallas Mavericks is quite clear, and it appears that even when the Slovenian is in full swing, it may not be enough to get the American Airlines Center team over the line.

This was evident in Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns, when Doncic’s 45-point haul wasn’t enough to prevent the Mavericks from going down 121-114 to Chris Paul and company.

Defeating the Suns was always going to be a tall order. As you can see here, Phoenix is one of the front-runners in NBA Championship betting, but either way, Doncic needs some solid support from his teammates if he’s going to help Jason Kidd’s side progress deeper into the postseason.

The Mavericks have struggled in that department for years. They may regularly make it to the playoffs, but they just as regularly fail to make an impact when they get there. In the past six playoff appearances, they’ve fallen at the first hurdle, with the last two occasions coming at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.

They went one better when they overcame the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs this year, but there are serious question marks over whether they can get any further. Doncic did get some help from Maxi Kleber, but it wasn’t enough to prevent an opening game loss, and Kidd is well aware of this failing;

“I thought Maxi and Luka in that first half kept us afloat … We could have easily been down 39 at halftime, but Maxi and LD were good. LD was good in the second half, too.

“He got whatever he wanted, when you look at the shots in the paint, behind the arc, midrange, and then also I thought he got his teammates some great looks that we normally had made.” Kidd continued, “We’ve just got to get someone to join the party.”

Phoenix head coach Monty Williams also commented on the Mavericks’ dependence on Doncic:

“Anytime a guy has 45, you look at that number, and you don’t like it, but I look at their assist numbers.” He continued,  “They only had 16. So, Kleber hit some 3s, but for the most part, nobody else got going the way that they’re capable of.”

Doncic made an immediate impact since moving to Dallas from Spanish giants Real Madrid back in 2018, and he’s made the NBA All-Star game for the past three seasons. Making the move from European basketball to the pinnacle of the game, i.e., the NBA, is a leap that the 23-year-old has made seamlessly and the potential he has is frankly frightening.

The odds are heavily against the Mavericks overcoming the Suns, and that says perhaps more about Phoenix than it does about Dallas, but either way, Doncic can’t do all the work himself, and Kidd will need his entire line-up to step up if they are to not see this series slip away from them.

 

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