Jason Kidd gives no-nonsense reaction to Luka Doncic's defense vs Celtics: "Has a bullseye on his chest and has to be able to guard"

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd sees the need for Luka Doncic to defend after their team lost 106-99 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Jason Kidd knows the Boston Celtics are hunting Luka Doncic on defense. The Slovenian is easily the Dallas Mavericks’ worst defender, an issue the Celtics have consistently used to their advantage. Doncic couldn’t even finish Game 3 due to six personal fouls after Boston relentlessly attacked him defensively.

Doncic couldn’t play in the final 4:12 minutes of the game after he was called for a blocking foul against a driving Jaylen Brown. Without the NBA’s leading scorer, Dallas nearly completed a stirring rally but eventually fell 106-99. The Celtics might be even more forceful in attacking “Luka Magic” in Game 4 to sweep the series.

After the game, Jason Kidd had this to say about Boston’s glaring strategy to just go downhill against Luka Doncic:

“He’s definitely got a bullseye on his chest, he’s gotta be able to guard and understand that we’re there to protect him and help him if he does get beat. … They are putting him in every pick-and-roll and iso [plays].”

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The Hall of Fame point guard’s assessment was spot on. The Celtics were just unforgiving in punishing Doncic on defense. Kidd would sometimes use a zone defense to help the slow-footed superstar but that has only opened up Boston’s shooters.

The Mavericks have been put in a serious dilemma. They use stretches of zone defense to help Luka Doncic at the risk of giving Boston’s shooters daylight to shoot. Dallas isn’t winning the series if the Celtics’ 3-point barrage gets momentum. The Mavericks aren’t also likely to survive one game with the way Doncic has been exposed defensively.

Basketball analysts called out Luka Doncic’s effort on defense in Game 3

Early in Game 3, ESPN’s Doris Burke pointed out a sequence that has been a theme in the NBA Finals. Here’s what she had to say in a play involving Luka Doncic:

"A moment where Luka takes a minute to bark at the officials, doesn't sprint in transition and you're playing 5-on-4."

After complaining of a non-foul on Al Horford, Doncic couldn’t get back on time to play defense. Sam Hauser, Boston’s forward he was supposed to be guarding, raced back to nail a 3-pointer. It was a play that many have noticed has become a regularity in the NBA Finals.

Brian Windhorst didn’t hold back after the Dallas Mavericks’ Game 3 loss:

“His defensive performance is unacceptable. He is a hole on the court and the Celtics are attacking him. They are ahead in this series because they have attacked him defensively.”

Windhorst added that Luka Doncic always resorts to referee blaming for his defensive failures. The veteran reporter was proven right after the game when Doncic told the media that they couldn’t be physical, which was the opposite of what happened in the game.

Jason Kidd admitted that Doncic’s burden on offense makes it doubly hard for “Luka Magic” to put more energy on defense. If the Mavs can’t find a solution to their problem, the Boston Celtics are likely running away with the championship in two nights.

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Edited by Michael Macasero
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