Luka Doncic blames "missed free throws" not Kyrie Irving's struggles and late missed P.J. Washington call for Game 2 loss 

Luka Doncic blames "missed free throws" not Kyrie Irving
Luka Doncic blames "missed free throws" not Kyrie Irving's struggles and late missed P.J. Washington call

Luka Doncic took accountability for the Dallas Mavericks dropping to 0-2 in the 2024 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. Doncic said his missed free throws and turnovers resulted in the 105-98 loss. The Slovenian had 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on the night, but with eight turnovers. He also went 4-of-8 from the free-throw line:

"I think my turnovers and my missed free throws cost us the game," Doncic said after the game [via NBA reporter Mike Curtis]. "At the end of the day, we have to make shots."

Doncic's shortcomings weren't the only reason for the loss, though. The Mavericks saw yet another rough game from Kyrie Irving, who went 7-of-18 to score 16 points. Irving missed his three 3-point attempts, too. His lack of contribution and inefficiency has made things worse for the Mavericks offense in their opening two losses.

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Meanwhile, a late non-call on P.J. Washington's missed dunk potentially cost the Mavericks a chance at a win. The Mavericks could've cut the lead to three with 50 seconds left on the game clock, but the referees didn't call a foul on Jaylen Brown, who appeared to shove Washington.

Luka Doncic battled through various injuries in Game 2

Luka Doncic deserved more praise than blame after Game 2 exploits despite the eight turnovers and 50.0% free throw shooting. The Slovenian was the sole reason why the Mavericks had any shot at winning in Sunday's contest. He dominated offensively for much of the night despite playing through three injuries.

Doncic was already dealing with a knee and ankle issue that bothered him for the entire conference semis and finals. On top of that, he sustained a chest injury in the finals, which saw him being listed as questionable for Game 2:

"I mean, I actually was – you know, I always want to play," Doncic said about his questionable status and if he would've missed the game.
"So all day we did a lot of things to get ready for the game."

Luka Doncic's performance reflected his health issues, especially later in the game. After shooting 11-of-15 to score 29 points in three quarters, he added only three points on 1-of-6 attempts in the fourth period. It also had a lot to do with Doncic shouldering the burden for the team amid Kyrie Irving's struggles and nobody else stepping up offensively.

That's been a vital difference between the teams this series, as Boston has the better supporting cast and collective contribution.

Game 3 of the finals takes place on Wednesday with the Mavs having home court advantage for the first time in the series.

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Edited by Arhaan Raje
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