‘Battling’ Doncic bounces back as Mavs pull even

'Battling' Doncic bounces back as Mavs pull even

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Mavs take Game 2 from Thunder to even series (2:20)Luka Doncic and P.J. Washington combine for 58 points as the Mavericks hand the Thunder their first playoff loss of the year. (2:20)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Luka Doncic cracked a relieved grin and raised his hands as he glanced toward the rafters when his first shot splashed through the net early in Thursday's Game 2, as if the Dallas Mavericks star was thanking the basketball gods.

The soreness in Doncic's sprained right knee was still there, but his shooting slump had suddenly disappeared.

A sizzling start by Doncic set the tone for the Mavs' series-tying 119-110 win over the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. He made his first four shots from the floor en route to scoring 16 of his 29 points in the first quarter.

"It was just my mentality," said Doncic, who also recorded 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot. "I think today was one of the hardest game I had to play. I'm battling out there. I try and do my best to help [the] team win with just my mentality. Have a great start, and then the team's going to follow me."

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Doncic made 11 of 21 shots from the floor, a normal night for him under usual circumstances. But he'd been struggling to find his rhythm during the playoffs, shooting only 39.5% from the floor in the Mavs' first seven games of the postseason.

Doncic was 5-of-8 from 3-point range in the Mavs' win over the Thunder after going 5-of-35 in the previous four games.

"Some of those shots are a centimeter off or an inch off," said Mavs guard Kyrie Irving, who was held to nine points but matched his playoff career high with 11 assists. "We know Luka very well, so we're not worried relatively, but we understand that we have to continue to feed him confidence. But it starts with him, and he knows that in order for us to be successful, he's going to have to play his role in his team and be a star of the team. And when it's our time to star in our role, he gives us that chance."

Mavs forward P.J. Washington played a starring role, notching his first career playoff double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Washington was 7-of-11 from 3-point range, repeatedly benefiting from the attention the Oklahoma City defense paid to Doncic and Irving.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Doncic and Washington became the first duo to each have at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five made 3s in a playoff game in NBA history.

"P.J. was amazing," Doncic said. "We went to him the first play. We've got to do that more. We've got to give him the ball more."

Dallas handed Oklahoma City, which swept the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, its first loss of these playoffs. This was the first game of this postseason in which the Thunder allowed their opponent to score more than 95 points.

"This is just part of the deal," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. "It's the playoffs, and we're playing against a really good team. This is deep waters. You're going to throw some punches, you're going to take some punches. We got to eat one."

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'Battling' Doncic bounces back as Mavs pull even

play

Mavs take Game 2 from Thunder to even series (2:20)Luka Doncic and P.J. Washington combine for 58 points as the Mavericks hand the Thunder their first playoff loss of the year. (2:20)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Luka Doncic cracked a relieved grin and raised his hands as he glanced toward the rafters when his first shot splashed through the net early in Thursday’s Game 2, as if the Dallas Mavericks star was thanking the basketball gods.

The soreness in Doncic’s sprained right knee was still there, but his shooting slump had suddenly disappeared.

A sizzling start by Doncic set the tone for the Mavs’ series-tying 119-110 win over the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. He made his first four shots from the floor en route to scoring 16 of his 29 points in the first quarter.

“It was just my mentality,” said Doncic, who also recorded 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot. “I think today was one of the hardest game I had to play. I’m battling out there. I try and do my best to help [the] team win with just my mentality. Have a great start, and then the team’s going to follow me.”

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Doncic made 11 of 21 shots from the floor, a normal night for him under usual circumstances. But he’d been struggling to find his rhythm during the playoffs, shooting only 39.5% from the floor in the Mavs’ first seven games of the postseason.

Doncic was 5-of-8 from 3-point range in the Mavs’ win over the Thunder after going 5-of-35 in the previous four games.

“Some of those shots are a centimeter off or an inch off,” said Mavs guard Kyrie Irving, who was held to nine points but matched his playoff career high with 11 assists. “We know Luka very well, so we’re not worried relatively, but we understand that we have to continue to feed him confidence. But it starts with him, and he knows that in order for us to be successful, he’s going to have to play his role in his team and be a star of the team. And when it’s our time to star in our role, he gives us that chance.”

Mavs forward P.J. Washington played a starring role, notching his first career playoff double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Washington was 7-of-11 from 3-point range, repeatedly benefiting from the attention the Oklahoma City defense paid to Doncic and Irving.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Doncic and Washington became the first duo to each have at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five made 3s in a playoff game in NBA history.

“P.J. was amazing,” Doncic said. “We went to him the first play. We’ve got to do that more. We’ve got to give him the ball more.”

Dallas handed Oklahoma City, which swept the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, its first loss of these playoffs. This was the first game of this postseason in which the Thunder allowed their opponent to score more than 95 points.

“This is just part of the deal,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “It’s the playoffs, and we’re playing against a really good team. This is deep waters. You’re going to throw some punches, you’re going to take some punches. We got to eat one.”

Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyYour US State Privacy RightsChildren’s Online Privacy PolicyInterest-Based AdsAbout Nielsen MeasurementDo Not Sell or Share My Personal InformationContact UsDisney Ad Sales SiteWork for ESPNCorrections

ESPN BET is operated by PENN Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries (‘PENN’). ESPN BET is available in states where PENN is licensed to offer sports wagering. Must be 21+ to wager. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Copyright: © 2024 ESPN Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

 Read More

​ www.espn.com – NBA