NBA: Clippers laud 'amazing' Doncic after historic playoff debut


Posted at Aug 18 2020 04:26 PM

NBA: Clippers laud 'amazing' Doncic after historic playoff debut 1
Dallas guard Luka Doncic. FIBA basketball

The Los Angeles Clippers tipped their hat off to Luka Doncic after the Dallas guard made his playoff debut against them on Monday night (US time).

Doncic, last season's Rookie of the Year, had 42 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds to lead the Mavericks in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series. His 42 points were the most scored by a player in his NBA playoff debut.

The Clippers hacked out a 118-110 victory, with Paul George drilling the dagger three-pointer with 43 seconds to go after Doncic brought the Mavs to within four points.

"He's amazing," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Doncic. "I thought we guarded him pretty well, forced him into a lot of tough shots, forced him into 11 turnovers."

Two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard said that Doncic was "very poised."

"He's very trusted on that team. He can get to his spots, find his teammates, gets them easy baskets. He makes tough baskets well. He's a great player," he added.

George gave credit to Doncic for his superb performance, but also made it clear that the Clippers could have made it harder for the Slovenian star.

"Give credit where credit was due. He played great tonight. But we got to tighten up some things to make it tougher. I thought as good as he played tonight, we could have limited some of the stuff. That's what we got to work on," said George.

In particular, Rivers said that the Clippers have to tighten up their help defense on Doncic's teammates. 

"I'll give up the points to him, I just don't want to give up the points and the assists. I think we allowed him to have both tonight," he said.

Doncic, for his part, was not impressed with his own performance. In an ESPN report, he said his game was "terrible," as he focused on his 11 turnovers. Five of those came in the first quarter, as the Clippers defense keyed on him.

"That is 11 more possessions, imagine that," he said. "I think a lot of this game, I got to do way better than that."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is on Wednesday, still at the Walt Disney World Complex in Orlando, Florida (Thursday morning in Manila).

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).