Entering the 2020 NBA Playoffs, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks were considered as the heavy underdogs in their first-round matchup against the Kawhi Leonard-led Los Angeles Clippers. In Game 1, the Clippers immediately showed their strength by defeating the Mavericks, 118-110. Luckily, the following game, Doncic’s team managed to bounce back with an impressive 127-114 victory to even the series, 1-1.
After getting his first playoff win, Doncic became more determined in helping the Mavericks make a deep playoff run in the 2019-20 NBA season. The Clippers may be the No.1 favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year, but Doncic believes that they have a realistic chance of challenging them for Western Conference supremacy. In a recent interview with Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Doncic expressed strong confidence that they could beat the mighty Clippers in a best-of-seven series.
“We’ve just got three left,” Doncic said, referring to how many more wins the seventh-seeded Mavs need to pull off an upset over the heavily favored Clippers in their first-round Western Conference series in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “I think we can fight with them. Any series we go in, we’re going to believe we can win, for sure. If you don’t believe it, you’re not supposed to be here. You’ve got to believe it.”
Based on their performance in the first two games of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, it wouldn’t really be a surprise if Doncic and the Mavericks are the ones who will advance in the Western Conference Semifinals and not the Clippers. Though it’s just his first time playing in the postseason, Doncic is playing like a veteran superstar who has played countless playoff games. The 21-year-old Slovenian star isn’t showing any sign of pressure and has proven that he is capable of matching up against the best players in the league.
However, the Mavericks’ Game 2 victory isn’t solely credited to Doncic. Though he had an incredible first half where he posted 22 points, six rebounds, and seven assists, Doncic had it rough in the second half. He didn’t only struggle with his shooting, but he was also already in foul trouble in the third quarter.
Luckily, when Coach Rick Carlisle was forced to sit his best player on the bench, their other players stepped up and helped the team maintain the lead until the end of the game. Coach Doc Rivers did no longer offer any excuse with their recent loss, saying that Dallas simply outplayed their starters and second unit. Carlisle shared the same sentiment and added that their depth will play a major role if they will succeed in eliminating the Clippers in the first round or not.