As the Dallas Mavericks gear up for their Western Conference Finals matchup against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, Luka Doncic is embracing the moment.
“I’m living my best life – a dream,” Doncic said. “Before Game 7, I said this might be my last game of the NBA season, but I was ready. I wanted to play basketball.
“Tomorrow is another basketball game that I’ll enjoy. I get to play at least four (more games). You never know, so I’m just happy to be playing basketball. It’s incredible.”
The Mavericks finally broke through and pulled off two series victories after being held to first-round exits by a daunting LA Clippers squad over the last two years. Doncic has shown time and time again that he has a special ability to rise to the occasion. With averages of 31.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 6.6 assists in 10 playoff games, he's brought everything his team has needed.
Taking down the Phoenix Suns was no easy feat. It took a seven-game series with plenty of ups and downs. Trailing 2-0 in the series against a 64-win team is not necessarily the set of circumstances a team tends to recover from.
A key differentiation between this year's Mavericks team and the last two that made the playoffs is Doncic's supporting cast. They are a hard-nosed defensive team ready to swarm around the half-court. They have lots of shooting and now have multiple threats around Doncic that can put the ball on the floor.
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Right now, Doncic sounds delighted with his current situation with the Mavericks. Having a chance to break through to make the NBA Finals would surely boost any player. But for Doncic, he has a clear appreciation for the gravity of the situation.
“This life is great for me,” Doncic said. “I get to play basketball, and basketball is my job. This is perfect.
“Everybody wants to have a job that they enjoy, and I enjoy it very much — my job. Obviously, when we’re winning, the smile is even more. The winning is really incredible.”
It wasn't long ago when the underlying concern surrounding the Mavericks was whether there would be enough help for Doncic to pull off a deep playoff run. The height of those concerns came when his 46 points and 14 assists weren't enough to win last year's Game 7 against the LA Clippers, as Dallas lost 126-111.
"I mean, nothing yet," Doncic said when asked if his stats meant anything last summer after being eliminated by the Clippers. "We made the playoffs twice since I've been here. We lost both times. At the end, you get paid to win. We didn't do it."
There is a major opportunity in front of Doncic and the Mavericks. The Warriors are a high-level team still, but they aren't the dynasty they once were with Kevin Durant forming an insane one-two punch with Stephen Curry. There isn't an unbeatable team remaining in the postseason.