Luka Doncic has unexpected help – and it’s not Kyrie Irving

By | May 11, 2024

The Minnesota Timberwolves are now the only undefeated team in the current NBA playoffs. Today, May 10th, the Oklahoma City Thunder suffered their first postseason loss. Previously, Mark Daigneault’s young team swept the New Orleans Pelicans in the opening round (4-0) and then secured their first victory in the series against the Dallas Mavericks. Winning a game on the road is a valuable achievement, and the Mavericks handled this beautifully. The next two games will be hosted by Jason Kidd’s team on their home court.

In the Mavericks’ roster, Luka Doncic stood out with his individual performance, scoring 29 points (11 out of 21 from the field), grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists over 41 minutes on the court. However, Doncic wasn’t going solo—he had helpers who played a significant role in decisively overcoming the opponent. Kyrie Irving comes to mind immediately. Almost there. While Irving did deliver 11 assists, the guard himself scored only nine points (2 out of 8 from the field), adding two rebounds and two steals. Irving compensated for his poor shooting performance with elite defensive work, reminiscent of Gary Payton in his prime.

Forward PJ Washington unexpectedly exploded, having previously shown his scoring potential in the second game of the series against the Los Angeles Clippers with 18 points. Today, he scored 29 points on efficient shooting (11 out of 18), along with 11 rebounds and four assists. Notably, Washington became the first player since Stephen Curry in a playoff game to achieve 10+ rebounds and 7+ three-pointers. Curry accomplished this during the 2022 Finals series, where his Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 4-2. PJ Washington joined the Mavericks from the Charlotte Hornets at the NBA trade deadline in early February.

Additionally, small forward Tim Hardaway Jr., coming off the bench, contributed 17 points on 6 out of 10 shooting. Interestingly, for Hardaway Jr., this is his fourth appearance in the current postseason. If in the first three games he scored eight points, in the fourth, he scored at least twice as much! Meanwhile, Luka Doncic hit five three-pointers today—more than in the previous three games combined (4). The third game between the Texans and Oklahoma is scheduled for tomorrow, May 11th, at 22:30 MSK. There’s not much time to rest.

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