In the first two rounds of the 2022 NBA playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Donsic looked almost superhuman.
He averaged 29.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game in three competitions in the first round of the Utah Jazz vs. (he missed the first three games due to a calf injury).
When Mavs battled top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals, Donsick changed everything with 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game.
He had four games with at least 33 points, including the last two games of the series where he scored 33 and 35 points, respectively.
But things were different in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Golden State Warriors, as Donsick played his worst game so far this post season.
Like night and day
Despite the presence of defensive player of the year runner-up Mikal Bridges, the Sons apparently did nothing to stop Donsick.
The Slovenian native started the series with a push, exploding for 45 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Game 1.
He ended it with a hammer blow on Phoenix with 35 points in 12-of-19 in 30 minutes and 35 points in 30 minutes from 3-point range 6-11 in 30 minutes as Mavus embarrassed the Sun at 123-90. Did.
Donsick looked like he had entered some rare air when it came to his third post-season appearance in the playoff numbers of his career.
দ্বিতীয় দ্বিতীয় Luca Donsick (32.5 ppg) is the second highest scoring average of his career in playoff history behind Michael Jordan (33.4 ppg) (played a minimum of 10 games).
– D210SPORTS (@ D210S) May 15, 2022
But on Wednesday, the Warriors looked like Donsick with an over-run.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr threw a variety of defensive tackles at him and he fired just six of 18 shots, resulting in seven turnovers.
Jason Kidd on Luka Donsick’s Incompetent Game 1 vs. Warriors Box-End-1, Zone, Full-Court Defense: “He understands what they’re trying to do, and he’ll get better.”
– Callie Kaplan (calycaplan) May 19, 2022
The Warriors’ defensive prowess kept Donsick almost speechless.
Over the past eight years, the Warriors have received a lot of attention and recognition, especially when they have reached the NBA Finals five times in a row and won three championships in four years, focusing on the offensive end and for good reason.
The Warriors helped bring the speed-and-space revolution to maturity by winning with a brand of ball centered around quick-break and half-court ball and player movement.
But the real key to their success, then and now, is the defensive end.
Golden State is an elite defensive team, and they finished the regular season with a defensive rating of 106.9, which topped the NBA.
There are twice as many problems against Donsick and Mavs in this series.
The only hope of a transcendent Donsik Mavs
If Dallas had to go back and take Game 2 and take a real shot to take the series, Donsick would have to play great – duration.
“Great job. That’s it. All I have to say is. They’ve done a great job,” said Luka Donsick at Warriors Defense tonight.
– 95.7 The Game (@ 957thegame) May 19, 2022
The team does not have enough offensive firepower to overcome another subper performance from the franchise player.
The Mavs trailed 54-45 at halftime of Game 1, and if Donsick left shortly thereafter, they would probably be in a position to win.
But no one else did anything remarkable, as the team had only 36.0 percent shots from the field and 22.9 percent ice from 3-point ground.
One could expect at least a few incredible games in this series from Donetsk, but even five or six performances may not be enough for Dallas unless its other major players play to their standards.