Luka came back after missing time with a twisted ankle and didn’t miss a beat. Dončić had 33 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists to hand the Kings their second consecutive defeat heading into the All-Star break, 130 – 111 at American Airlines Center. He probably didn’t need a lot of extra motivation after missing seven games, but Luke Walton said something that pissed him off.
“(Walton) said something I didn’t like about me. That was just it.”Luka Dončić
What did Walton say? We’re not sure. He was asked after the game and denied saying anything extraordinary. Walton understands it wouldn’t be smart for him to perpetuate beef with the superstar his team passed on for Marvin Bagley III. In a more diplomatic tone than during the game, Walton praised Luka and Porzingis for their performance. But, if it culminated in the third quarter, this might be what Luka was referring to.
Walton was annoyed at a few calls and asked Luka to give the ref his autograph. This was pointed at the ref more than Luka, but players will take whatever you give them to get some extra motivation. Not that Luka needs any when playing the Kings (Suns and Hawks, for that matter).
Walton’s mood can also be explained with the fact he’s already facing pressure with the Kings underperforming and reports of his and the front office position being under consideration by Kings owner Vivek Ranedive. After surprising everyone last year, the Kings suffered a lot more injuries to key players this year, but are still a disappointment sitting at 13th in the West with a 21 – 33 record.
The Mavericks are on the other side of that fence, 6th in the West, in a comfortable playoff position. With Luka back and Porzingis playing much better, they have reason to be ambitious and feel they can do better than just a playoff appearance.