The 2011 NBA Champions, Dallas Mavericks, had the most efficient offense in NBA history this past season, led by the Luka Doncic. But what stopped them from becoming anything more than a Playoff team was not just their almost non-existent defense, but their inability to step up in the crucial moments.
They seemed to have addressed their defense in this offseason. It was evident with Josh Richardson having Devin Booker in the back of his pocket for the majority of the game against the Phoenix Suns. However, their premier point guard, Chris Paul, could only muster 8 points.
Dallas Mavericks and clutch moments. Last season, these two were averse to each other like oil and water. And this continued in their opening loss, too, when Doncic missed a crucial shot in the closing stages.
For a player who could do virtually anything in the paint, it is frustrating to watch Doncic struggle from the outside. Not that he can’t take a 3-point shot like Ben Simmons. Rather, it simply does not live up to the MVP standards that Luka has set for himself.
He went 0-6 from the 3-point range in the season opener, including missing a wide-open shot in the dying seconds. Had he made the ‘clutch shot’, it would have leveled the game. And speaking after the game, he was willing to take full responsibility for his team’s loss.
“I’ve got to stop taking these very bad shots. It wasn’t just the last one, but it was a couple of them. It’s not good for me, it’s not good for the team and I’ve got to change it.”
The games come thick and fast in the NBA. So there is no time to dwell, just expect to do better next time. Next up for the Mavericks is a daunting trip to the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
The defending champions are themselves coming off a loss to their bitter rivals. So, there won’t be any lack of motivation from either side. Perhaps it is an opportunity for Luka to get over his and Maverick’s clutch demon once and for all.
Get notified about breaking news and watch highlights on the go; join the Arena on NBA Hoops