Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks has not played a single game in the playoffs this year after he strained his calf in the final game of the regular season. While the Mavericks struggled without him in Game 1 against the Utah Jazz, Jalen Brunson came up with a game-leading 41-point contribution to level the series 1-1.
Luka Dončić is a pivotal piece in the Mavericks’ system, dictating the pace of the game and the movement of the offense. Throughout the season, the team has relied on him to get them open buckets, but evidently some players have learned from just watching him play.
The addition of Spencer Dinwiddie is definitely a respite for the franchise, but they still need Luka Dončić to win the series.
However, with the Utah Jazz unable to capitalize in Luka Dončić’s absence, Nick Wright started looking into the future as the “First Things First” crew discussed the Jazz-Mavericks series:
“We are ten days away from basketball nirvana Brou. Point God against future Point God – Chris Paul versus Luka Dončić in a seven-game war for the future and the present of the Western Conference. That’s what we’re about to get my friend.”
“Cause the Mavs are going to roll. All they needed was a split and for Luka to come back.”
The Jazz will host the Mavericks at the Vivint Smart Home Arena for Games 3 and 4, with no clarity on when Luka Dončić will return. But Dončić is not one to sit out if he’s able to play, which really leaves the ball in the franchise’s court to make sure he is healthy and ready to play.
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While the Mavericks organization has not given any indication on when the guard might return, Nick Wright’s intuition tells him it will be pretty soon:
“Luka’s gonna come back. I don’t have intel on this, but I have that fatherly intuition that tells me he will be back by Game 4 at the latest – maybe by Game 3. And then all of a sudden, it’s 2-2 at worse.”
“The Jazz blew it, cause that’s what they do – they blow games they should win; they blow series they should win – because they’re not a playoff basketball team. And the Mavs are going to win this series and then we’re going to get Mavs-Suns.”
How will Luka Dončić fare against the Phoenix Suns if the Mavericks go through Round 1?
Luka Dončić has had a great regular season, popping up in MVP conversations from time to time throughout his campaign. In over 65 games, Doncic averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists – while leading the Mavericks to a respectable fourth position.
In previous campaigns, Luka Dončić has had two first-round exits, but played exceptional basketball in those years. He averaged 31 and 35.7 points respectively – both against the LA Clippers. As far as performances go, Doncic will show up if he’s fit to play and make an impact for the Mavericks.
Nick Wright echoed his excitement for the series by saying:
“Lets just give Luka a deep tissue massage on that calf and get it right. Because that’s the only thing preventing us from getting CP3 vs Luka – for the future of the Western Conference.”
However, the Phoenix Suns’ defense has proven to be a tough nut to crack. Led by Chris Paul, they lost just 18 games throughout the regular season and hold the third-best defensive rating (107.3) in the league. Nevertheless, a match-up between the two highly skilled point guards will definitely be a battle people would love to see.