The Dallas Mavericks headed into Game 3 against the Phoenix Suns in their Western Conference semi-finals series with one thing in mind—perform better. Led by the team’s all-around superstar Luka Doncic, the Mavs went away with a 103-94 win.
The energy from the home crowd was undeniable from tipoff to the final buzzer. Electrified by the Mavericks faithful, Doncic played aggressively the entire game, picking up a lot of fouls in the process.
Luka knows CP3 flopped
Early in the game, Doncic was attacking the Suns defense. Being a much older player than the Slovenian wunderkind, Chris Paul decided to man-up Doncic as the game was heading to the end of the first half.
On one play, Luka slashed his way to the basket and drew contact with CP3. Seemingly aware of how pumped up Doncic has been, Paul decided to force an offensive foul. Unfortunately for Doncic, the ref bought it and blew the whistle on him.
In disbelief, Doncic mimicked Paul’s apparent flop and jerked his head back and forth as he walked towards the opposite side of the court.
Nevertheless, Doncic still dominated the Suns in the first half, registering a game-high 16 points in the first two quarters.
Doncic’s reaction to the call tells a lot about his dedication. Evidently, “Luka Magic” has put his personal relationship with Paul aside because it’s the playoffs.
No drama with CP3
One thing most of us admire about NBA superstars is their sportsmanship. Despite mocking Paul over the call, Doncic said that there’s nothing personal in the post-game press conference.
Instead, the three-time NBA All-Star stressed that the officials should know when to call a foul as they will sure play physical basketball throughout the series.
“It wasn’t about Chris Paul [laughs],” Doncic told reporters in his post-game presser. “I didn’t think those were fouls. I mean, it’s playoffs. It’s a physical game.”
After Game 2, the Mavericks were heavily criticized for not putting pressure on the Suns in terms of defense. That narrative has changed in Game 3, and Doncic’s two steals and five fouls tell a lot about their improved approach.
According to Doncic, who also finished the game with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists, the plan is to maintain the same amount of energy and precision throughout the series.
“The energy and the execution were better,” Doncic said of the Mavs’ win. “We trusted ourselves and that’s what we gotta do every game.”