The Dallas Mavericks rose from the doldrums to clinch the Western Conference Finals berth for the first time since 2011 by beating last year finalists, Phoenix Suns in a blowout fashion in Game 7 of the semifinals. All Star duo, Chris Paul and Devin Booker had off-days at the worst possible time, while Dallas saw Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson step up. But of course, the main catalyst behind Dallas’ win was Luka Doncic. The Slovenian proved to be the best player in the series as he went for 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 2.1 steals on 47.6 percent shooting from the field. Dallas held the Suns to their two lowest-scoring games of the season in Games 6 and 7 as number 77 went for 68 points, 21 rebounds, and six steals. He took his game to another stratosphere as the Mavericks eliminated arguably the best team in the NBA.
Luka Doncic TORCHED the Suns in the 2nd round 🔥 45 PTS – 12 REBS – 8 ASTS 35 PTS – 5 REBS – 7 ASTS 26 PTS – 13 REBS – 9 ASTS 26 PTS – 7 REBS – 11 ASTS 28 PTS – 11 REBS – 2 ASTS 33 PTS – 11 REBS – 8 ASTS 35 PTS – 10 REBS – 4 ASTS AVG: 32.6 PTS – 9.8 REBS – 7 ASTS pic.twitter.com/Otr3xH7ejL — ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 16, 2022
Coming Full Circle Before this season, Doncic had never made it out of the first round, losing to the LA Clippers two years in a row. But now, after getting his first taste of a deep playoff run, he has made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Analysts and critics have long pegged the kid as the next great NBA superstar from the moment he stepped foot in the league, but it is beginning to feel like he is finally reaching that status.
Since Luka Dončić entered the NBA, he and the Mavs have been dubbed as the team "of the future." "Well, Luka Dončić is here now. And he’ll be here for a long time more," writes @tim_cato.https://t.co/gdM3dxXpsz pic.twitter.com/7y1MXZpLyp — The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 16, 2022
For the first time in what feels like forever, the 24 year old is leading a championship-caliber team completely by himself; rising to the status of a top-five player in the NBA. And now, he has the chance to cement himself at that level even further with a win over the Golden State Warriors. How Does Golden State Warriors Tame Luka? There really may not be a clear answer to this question simply because Doncic is a generational-like talent that simply cannot be stopped unless he is physically injured and not on the court. When he plays, good things happen offensively for the Mavericks and right now, Luka is as healthy as he can be and is playing some of the best basketball of his NBA career. Going from a freakish athlete who can always get to the rim offensively in Ja Morant to a slower, more poised scorer in Luka, the Warriors are going to have some problems defending the Mavericks’ All-Star one-on-one, especially given that he torched them in the regular season. In all four matchups against the Warriors in the regular season, Luka Doncic scored at least 25 points and he even went for 41 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in their final meeting back in March. The solution for the Warriors is not necessarily stopping Doncic, but containing those around him in Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson and most importantly, Spencer Dinwiddie off-the-bench.
The Western Conference Finals matchup is set 🍿 Who you got? pic.twitter.com/bSXE43VvZV — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 16, 2022