How Luka Doncic’s Mavs Took Commanding 3-2 Lead Over Thunder

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, NBA News
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic adopted a simpler approach in his latest playoff game, focusing solely on the game rather than the NBA referees. This change in mindset led to a standout performance. He scored 31 points and achieved a triple-double, propelling the Dallas Mavericks to a 104-92 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. With this win, the Mavericks secured a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

“I’m just trying to play basketball, just focus on basketball,” Doncic explained. “Sometimes I forget this is the thing I love, the thing I do. My mental focus was just go out there and play basketball with a smile on my face and just go.”

Doncic, who led the league in scoring during the regular season, had found the series challenging, particularly with a sprained right knee and a sore left ankle affecting his performance.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Before Game 5, Doncic averaged only 22 points on 39% shooting. However, in this pivotal game, he made 12 out of 22 shots and added 11 assists and 10 rebounds, marking his sixth career playoff triple-double.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd praised Doncic’s assertiveness, saying, “He was aggressive. He was making shots, taking shots. The deep 3, being able to get to the basket, playmaking for his bigs and also for the wings.”

The Mavericks’ recovery in the series was crucial after they had relinquished a 14-point lead to lose 100-96 in Game 4 at home. “We know the last game we played against them at home, we let it go,” Doncic noted. “It was our mistakes and they hit shots.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Supporting Doncic, Derrick Jones Jr. contributed a playoff career-high 19 points, and P.J. Washington Jr. chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The team collectively shot 52.6% from the field. Dallas now stands one win away from advancing to the Western Conference finals.

For the Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led with 30 points, but no other player scored more than 13. Oklahoma City shot just 42.5% overall. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault acknowledged the team’s poor shooting and missed opportunities, commenting, “I thought we were kind of there tonight and maybe missed a couple plays.”

Oklahoma City also made adjustments to their lineup, starting Isaiah Joe instead of Josh Giddey for the first time in 229 combined regular and postseason games. Despite these changes, the Thunder struggled to close the gap in the fourth quarter, never coming within seven points after Dallas extended their lead.

Reflecting on the tight series, Doncic remarked, “We’ve got one more to win out of two games. That’s it. We’re up 3-2, but that’s still nothing. We’ve got to finish it and go with the same mentality at home.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

As the series potentially concludes, the youthful Thunder team faces elimination for the first time. Gilgeous-Alexander remained optimistic, stating, “Our mood won’t change, our mentality won’t change. It’s one game at a time. We wanted to win this game tonight as badly as we’re going to want to win the next game.”

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