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Luka Doncic questions calls after fouling out in Mavericks' Game 3 loss vs. Celtics: 'C'mon man'

Doncic picked up his sixth foul at a critical point in the Mavericks' attempted comeback


  • Jun 13 2024
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 Luka Doncic questions calls after fouling out in Mavericks' Game 3 loss vs. Celtics: 'C'mon man'
Luka Doncic questions calls after fouling out in Mavericks' Game 3 loss vs. Celtics: 'C'mon man'
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Luka Doncic fouled out of the Dallas Mavericks' 106-99 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night as his team fell in a 3-0 series hole. He picked up his sixth foul in the midst of the Mavericks trying to storm back from what was at one point a 21-point deficit, and while Jason Kidd tried to challenge the blocking call Doncic was whistled for, the officials stood pat on their decision and sent Dallas' superstar to the bench for the remainder of the game with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter.

Doncic had to watch from the sidelines as his team, who was down 93-90 at that point, couldn't complete the comeback, and will now try to avoid a sweep on Friday night in Game 4. After the game, Doncic questioned fouling out, clearly not agreeing with all the calls made by the officials.

When asked specifically about the four fouls he picked up in the fourth quarter, Doncic was careful not to say too much to criticize officials, while still sharing that he didn't agree with the calls.

"I don't know, we couldn't play physical, so, I don't know, I don't want to say nothing, but you know, six fouls in the NBA Finals, c'mon man," Doncic said. "Better than that."

Doncic specifically called out the sixth foul he was called for, where he tried to take a charge as Jaylen Brown was pushing the pace in transition. 

The call wasn't overturned after officials reviewed it upon the Mavericks challenge, and Dallas had to find a way to win without their best player. While Kyrie Irving tried to take the reins of the offense to will the Mavericks to a win, Dallas couldn't get enough shots to fall, and couldn't get enough stops when it mattered to try and close the gap between them and Boston.

But while Doncic feels like the Mavericks couldn't be aggressive defensively, there were also plenty of possessions where he was asleep at the wheel, allowing for easy, wide-open shots for the Celtics. There were numerous times where Doncic was slow, late or altogether just absent on a rotation, lazily closed-out on shooters and lost sight of his man who was cutting to the rim. 

There were also a couple times where he allowed the Celtics to get offensive rebounds, giving them second-chance opportunities which they took advantage of. His lack of defensive effort was part of the reason why the Mavericks lost, so the fouls he picked up weren't a product of the officials not allowing him and the Mavericks to play aggressively.

Fouls aside, Doncic and the Mavericks now have to turn their attention to Game 4 on Friday. No team has overcome an 0-3 deficit in NBA playoffs history, with the record at 0-156. If the Mavericks want to try and shock the world, or at least avoid a sweep, they'll need Doncic to put in more effort defensively, and avoid picking up bad fouls. 

If the leader of your team is putting in minimal effort on the defensive side of the ball, that energy tends to spread across the team. The Mavericks need Doncic to be better, otherwise their season will be over Friday, as they watch the Celtics celebrate a championship on their home floor.

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