The Mavericks faced one of their toughest games in recent years this Tuesday night, as they fell 131-110 to the Pelicans. Luka Doncic addressed their defeat after the match, and couldn’t help but criticize the In-Season Tournament court.
The Slovenian star didn’t want to excuse their poor performance, but had to say something about it. “I mean, outside of all of the courts, I think the court today was really bad,” he said after facing New Orleans. “It was really slippery, and in some places, the ball didn’t really bounce. If we’re going to have these courts, we need to make sure that it’s a stable court.”
“It was a little slippery, especially the paint area,” he added after posting 16 points, two rebounds and two assists in only 26 minutes of play.
Luka Doncic voiced frustration over playing conditions in NBA In-Season Tournament 👀
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According to the point guard, the ball didn’t bounce as expected in some parts of the court, while some other areas the surface was slippery. However, the truth is the 24-year-old had a poor game while committing eight turnovers and a 5-16 shooting record.
Despite this performance, he asks fans to understand that the campaign is long and the team can’t always play their best. “People don’t understand it’s 82 games in the NBA season,” Luka reminded the press after the contest. “Of course, there will be a bad night, you know? It’s the NBA; you have another chance tomorrow.”
New Orleans displayed an impeccable strategy of emphasizing full-court pressure on the Slovenian star, making it hard to operate offensively in the half court. This resulted in Dallas turning it over in numerous occasions, and were unable to compensate with precise perimeter shooting.
“Yeah, I actually like it when they press me. You can see it in the first game,” Doncic admitted. “Today, I wasn’t very efficient. I just have to drive. I just have to attack when they pressure me. I kind of like when they pressure me, so I just have to go downhill.”
Coach Jason Kidd blamed their blowout loss vs. New Orleans on their lack of defense and turnovers
Even though Dallas boasts an 8-3 record this 2023/24 campaign, the team was almost unrecognizable this Tuesday night against the Pelicans. The Mavs committed seven turnovers in the first quarter alone, with Doncic accounting for six of them. This resulted in New Orleans scoring 30 fast break points during the first half.
“Yeah, it was a bad night all the way around. Our defense, our energy, and then the turnovers hurt us,” coach Jason Kidd expressed. “It’s hard when you turn it over in transition; you give up that many fast break points. It’s hard to guard. Give New Orleans credit – they came out, and they played hard.”
According to the Mavs trainer, the team lacked motivation after a poor start to the match, while Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
“I thought we took their first punch there in the first. It was 30 to 26. They make a half-court shot,” he explained. “It is 33 to 26, and you know you’re in the game, and you didn’t play well in the first, but it was just a downhill effect from there.”