The Dallas Mavericks have the X-factor against the Clippers

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks have a legitimate chance to beat the Los Angeles Clippers.

I have to talk about the Dallas Mavericks for a minute. It’s not because they don’t get enough publicity. But if you’re a regular visitor to this space, you know that I seldom, if ever, convey my thoughts about basketball. Frankly, there hasn’t been much to speak on since the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Championship. That changed yesterday.

Specifically, I am obviously referring to Luka Doncic. There really isn’t a way to soft pedal this, so I’ll just come out and say it. His heroics on Sunday afternoon provided an immediate indication that his nascent excellence is already transcendent. The stat line of 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists is impressive in and of itself, but even then, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Never mind that Kristaps Porzingis was a late and unexpected scratch. Don’t take into account that the Mavericks frittered a late lead away and only barely forced overtime. They had plenty of opportunities to win or lose that game at several junctures along the away. Oh, and don’t forget that Doncic himself suffered a pretty grotesque ankle sprain in Game 3 on Friday night.

What we’re witnessing here is a coronation. Now, before I get accused of anointing the Mavs with a wholly premature NBA title, I want to clarify a bit. Dallas has no guarantee of moving forward through this series, let alone an improbable championship run. But at no point in time during the first four games of this affair have I thought they got run out of the gym.

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If anything, the Dallas Mavericks have displayed a postseason mettle evoking a battle-tested squad in spite of their lack of playoff seasoning. They’re a seven seed that have at least guaranteed themselves six games against a Los Angeles Clippers’ bunch that is favored by many to contend for the grand prize. Further, they proved themselves in a do-or-die situation when they were staring  squarely down the maw of a 3-1 series deficit. Playoff runs turn on moments when your superstar Slovenian guard coolly drains a 30-foot jumper to seal the deal in overtime, 135-133. Moments like that tend to get frozen in NBA lore.

If you follow this team on a regular basis, then you’re fully aware of the Doncic’s flair for the dramatic. He’s provided us with glimpses of his heroism throughout his short tenure in a Mavericks’ uniform. But up until now, he hadn’t shown the rest of the league what we’ve learned about “Luka Magic”. After yesterday, consider them fully informed. Sprained ankle and no Porzingis? No problem. Even the series with a cold-blooded dagger and make the Clippers sweat.

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I don’t think I’ve screamed as loudly during a Dallas Mavericks’ playoff game than when Luka drained that three. I know it sounds overly hyperbolic, but even in a market that witnessed the utter impeccability that was Dirk Nowitzki, I’m almost fully sure that we’ve never seen a basketball talent like Luka Doncic darken Dallas’s doorstep before. And the kid’s is only 21-years-old.

Holy cow.

  • Published on 08/24/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 08/24/2020 at 10:29 AM