Doncic after Game 5 win: 'I could have played way better'
Luka Doncic isn't easily impressed.
The Dallas Mavericks star became just the second player in NBA history to record 40-plus points and 14-plus assists in a playoff game during Wednesday's crucial Game 5 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.
Still, Doncic thinks he could have done more.
"I could have played way better," Doncic told reporters following the 105-100 win, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "I missed a lot of shots, some layups that I should make. But it wasn't just me, man. It was the whole team, the energy."
The box score suggests Doncic did more than his share for the Mavericks. His 42 points accounted for 40% of the team's scoring, and his 17 first-quarter points on a perfect 5-for-5 from deep propelled Dallas.
He also recorded 14 assists, meaning Doncic either scored or assisted on 83.8% of Dallas' points, which is the highest such percentage in NBA playoff history, according to Basketball Reference's Justin Kubatko.
That's hardly a pedestrian effort from the 22-year-old Slovenian, and according to Tim Hardaway Jr. - the only other Maverick to score in double figures on Wednesday - the team will do all it can to support its leader.
"That's our guy," Hardaway told MacMahon. "We're going to do whatever we can to back him up in any situation, at any given moment. The performance he had today, it would have sucked if we didn't come out with the victory."
With a cervical strain that's hampered his movement during the series bothering him, a noticeably laboring Doncic faded down the stretch after posting 40 points through three quarters. It was the fourth 40-plus-point playoff performance of his career, and the most in league history before a player's 23rd birthday, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Doncic finished the night 17-of-37 from the field while attempting five more field goals than he's logged in any NBA game, regular season or playoffs.
"I think it was too much," Doncic added. "I shot some shots that I shouldn't have shot. I honestly think it was too much. I think I was good from three, but I missed a couple of layups."
Apparently there's always room for improvement, even for one of the NBA's best.
"But we got a win," he continued. "That's all that matters at the end of the day."
The Mavericks are now one step from ousting the third-seeded Clippers to book a second-round date with the Utah Jazz. Game 6 goes Friday evening in Dallas.
- Report: Grizzlies to trade Valanciunas to Pelicans for package, No. 10 pick
- Report: Pistons considering Cunningham, Green, Mobley for No. 1 pick
- Top 10 trade candidates this offseason
- Team USA is vulnerable in Tokyo. Can Australia mount a worthy challenge?
- Report: Raptors to name ex-Suns head coach Watson as assistant