WATCH: Luka Doncic Teaches Tim Hardaway Jr. How To Hit a Step-Back After THJ Airball

Published 03/22/2021, 8:16 AM EDT
Mar 17, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) and forward Tim Hardaway Jr. (11) celebrates during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the LA Clippers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Luka Doncic had one of the best shooting nights of his career against the Portland Trailblazers. Doncic shot 8/9 from beyond the arc in a 37-point performance to blow Damian Lillard’s Blazers out of the water. It took Doncic only three quarters to leave his mark on the game, being rested for the entire fourth quarter with Dallas holding a 34-point lead.

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However, it could have been a 37-point lead. The last possession of the third quarter saw Tim Hardaway Jr. run an isolation play for himself. He took the ball up the left side of the key and then attempted a step-back buzzer-beating three. But the shot was completely off the mark, resulting in an airball. Luka had some fun with Hardaway after the miss.

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Doncic was obviously poking fun at Hardaway, who joined Dallas midway through his rookie season from New York in the trade that got Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas.

He was maligned in New York for his inefficient scoring, but that has tempered under the Doncic-led offense in Dallas. However, moments like these remind everyone why THJ was eventually traded out of New York.

Luka Doncic: Regaining an MVP pace?

Luka Doncic had a bit of a rough start to the season. While his numbers were as good as they always have been, Doncic was proving to be a problematic stat-sheet stuffer.

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Dallas went on a long losing streak with Doncic putting up empty and inefficient numbers. However, he has found some good form over the last month.

Mar 21, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket while Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (R) defends during the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With LeBron James and Joel Embiid seeing their MVP campaign be sidetracked with injuries, there is room for others to grow. Doncic is one of those players. If Dallas keeps rising up the Western Conference and book a playoff spot without the play-ins, Doncic’s numbers will be more appreciated.

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The MVP race is wide open this year. Doncic started the year as the presumed MVP favorite. However, a tough run early in the season saw all expectations die down. But with an uncertain MVP race, a few weeks of excellent play could get Doncic back in the running.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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