Luka isn’t quite right…
It is pretty clear to me that we aren’t seeing the best version of Luka Doncic right now. I began to notice in San Antonio.
The best way I can think of describing his right now is, “sluggish.” The burst, the explosiveness seem to be lacking from his game.
There are a number of reasons why that could be. There’s fatigue, could be the ankle, and maybe even the thumb and wrist are bugging him. Maybe it’s all of them, I’m not really sure, but one thing is clear: They need their best player to get back to 100% before playoff time. They don’t stand a chance without him at his best.
The right matchup is critical for the postseason
Miami might be the best team to slow the Luka-lead Mavs down. They have long, disruptive athletes on defense. Bam Adebayo provides excellent rim protection and versatility, and to top it off they can limit dribble penetration with their infamous zone.
Now, they obviously won’t see Miami being that they play out West, but it underscores the importance of not seeing a team with their defensive profile.
The Clippers obviously come to mind in that scenario. Two All-Defensive wings and elite pest Patrick Beverley would come at Luka in waves. And as we saw tonight, if you can impact Luka’s game, you can stymy one of the best offenses ever.
I don’t know how exactly you fall into the right matchup, but as followers of the team, you should hope it isn’t the Clippers or a team like them.
It’s time for a rotation tweak.
The Mavericks have been running out there best offensive lineup to start games: Luka-Hardaway-Curry-Dorian-KP.
It’s been good for them too. As you might expect, it’s a blistering offensive lineup.
But the the issue with that lineup, is it really hurts their bench productivity. There have been multiple occasions since the shift to this group where the bench has been gifted a lead, but because they lack firepower, immediately gave it right back.
It flat out costs them a game tonight. The starters worked hard to secure a five-point lead moving into the fourth, but before you could even blink Miami had scored the first 13 points in fourth quarter and it was over.
With Brunson’s injury, I’m not sure the answer to these problems is currently available. It’s about trade-off.
Are you willing to sacrifice your explosive starting lineup to throw your bench a life raft? Rick Carlisle certainly has an interesting choice to make.
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