“My goal at the start of every season is to win a championship," said young superstar Luka Doncic after the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated in Sunday's first-round Game 6 by the Los Angeles Clippers, 111-97. "There is no other goal so that is going to be mine."
Despite putting up another dazzling performance in his first-ever elimination game, finishing with 38 points (15-of-28 from the field, 4-of-8 from deep), nine rebounds and nine assists, none of that mattered to Doncic in the end, because he fell short of his ultimate goal, which is hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy as the last team standing.
That said, though, the odds were severely stacked against this year's Mavs' roster, given all the injuries it had endured - the biggest being Doncic's co-star Kristaps Porzingis suffering a meniscus tear in Game 1, and he wasn't able to play past Game 3 of the series.
NBA Trade Rumor: Mavs Interested in Sixers’ Matisse Thybulle?
Thybulle would fit into the defensive culture coach Jason Kidd has established in Dallas.
Mavs' Theo Pinson to Become Restricted Free Agent
The Dallas Mavericks have made Theo Pinson a restricted free agent.
EXCLUSIVE: Ex Mavs Guard Dennis Smith Jr.'s Pitch for Dallas Reunion
The Dallas Mavericks are reportedly losing Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks, and former point guard Dennis Smith Jr. would love nothing more than to have one more opportunity with Luka Doncic and the rest of the crew.
Although the ultimate goal wasn't reached, Doncic was still proud of his team, realizing that they gave all they could give, given the unfortunate circumstances.
“I am proud of our team and how we fought," said Doncic. "I think we fought till the end, but the Clippers have an amazing team, so it was hard. I think we gave everything and played especially hard in the playoffs. I am proud of our guys.”
The Mavs will now officially head into an offseason loaded with potential roster-improving possibilities, whether it be by trades, the NBA Draft (where Dallas holds the No. 18 and No. 31 picks) or free agency. Regardless of what the Mavs do to add to this roster over the offseason, the team will automatically be improved from the product we saw in the postseason with the return of Dwight Powell and Jalen Brunson next season.
On this episode of the Mavs Step Back Podcast, the guys recap Game 6, talk about Doncic's playoff brilliance, and name a few players the Mavs should target via trade around draft time. As always, thanks for listening!