Mavs’ Luka Doncic dominates Game 5 despite illness, knee injury

LOS ANGELES — Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic started his postgame treatment early Wednesday night, wrapping a large ice pack around his sprained right knee midway through the fourth quarter.

Doncic had already put the finishing touches on his best performance of this series in the first round. He recorded 35 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists despite illness and injury to lead the Mavs to a 123-93 rout of the LA Clippers in a crucial Game 5, hours after admitting he “couldn’t probably wouldn’t play” on his sprain. knee if it was the regular season.

“It’s the playoffs,” said Doncic, who has been suffering from a cold for several days and injured his knee in the first quarter of Game 3. “When you start the game in the playoffs, it’s different There’s a lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotion.

Doncic was particularly dominant in the third quarter, when Dallas increased its 10-point halftime lead to 20. He had 14 points and 3 assists in the quarter, playing all but 8 seconds.

Doncic continued to struggle with his jump shot, hitting 2 of 8 on 3-point attempts to drop to 26.3% from long range in the series. But he made 12 of his 18 attempts inside the arc, scoring 20 points in the paint.

“Obviously my shot is not great. Not even good. Very bad actually,” Doncic said. “I was just going downhill. The first four 3s I took felt good, I just didn’t get into it, but my whole mentality was just going downhill.”

As was the case in the Mavs’ previous two wins in the series, Doncic also excelled on the defensive side of the court, where he struggled mightily in Dallas’ Game 4 loss on Sunday.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Clippers were 3 of 12 from the field when Doncic was the primary defender in Game 5, including 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

“I always talk about his resilience,” said Mavs co-star Kyrie Irving, who had 14 points and 6 assists. “He doesn’t feel a hundred percent, but he’s still going to go play. For me, as a teammate, I appreciate that. I like being around someone like that who’s going to push himself but also be smart and still have an impact.”

It was the fifth 30-point, 10-assist performance of Doncic’s postseason career. Other players in franchise history have combined to accomplish this feat only twice, with Steve Nash and Mark Aguirre each achieving such a performance in the postseason.

Doncic, who shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the first time this series, scored or assisted on 61 of the Mavs’ 123 points to help put the Clippers on the brink of elimination.

“We knew at some point Luka was going to have a matchup with Luka,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’re not going to give up. We have to win four games. We’re going to Dallas for Game 6 on Friday and we’ll be ready to go.”

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