Sportress of Blogitude

Luka Doncic: Mavs primed for postseason push after recent surge

The Dallas Mavericks have navigated an up-and-down, inconsistent 2020-21 campaign, to put it mildly. However, a surge ahead of the last week’s All-Star break leaves Luka Doncic confident that the Mavs are primed to make a strong push at qualifying for a spot in the postseason down the stretch.

The Mavericks closed out the unofficial first half of the season on a tear having won nine of 11 games. There have been some bumps in the road, though, including a stretch where Dallas dropped six straight. That losing streak came in early January, and it merits noting that the cold spell stemmed in large part from injuries and COVID-19-related issues.

Doncic acknowledged the losing streak in his comments about how the Mavs are poised to make a run, perhaps hinting that it helped the team refocus.

“It was kind of a tough stretch right there where we lost five or six in a row,” Doncic said during All-Star Game festivities last weekend in Atlanta, Ga., as shared by Eddie Sefko of the Mavs’ official site. “We played really bad. But I think the last couple games we picked up and I think we’re going up and up and just learning from the moment when it was tough.”

Doncic’s outstanding play this season kept the Mavs afloat amid some overall inconsistency from the team, and the superstar took it to another level during the Mavs’ surge in the final games ahead of the break. In those 10 games, the two-time NBA All-Star, one-time All-NBA First-Teamer and 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year averaged 31.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists while shooting 51.5% from the field and 46.1% from three-point range.

Ahead of the season, Doncic was compelled to confront allegations that he was woefully out of shape heading into the season, but his play certainly has not indicated the star was unprepared for the regular-season grind. Further, there was another hurdle for Doncic last month when a prominent NBA writer accused the young superstar of being a whiner toward refs. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban passionately defended the superstar against the allegations.

All the early-season drama involving Doncic and the team aside, the team heads into the back half of the 2020-21 campaign slotted in the No. 8 spot in the deeply competitive Western Conference with a 18-16 record.

The Mavericks return to action Wednesday night with a showdown with the similarly playoff-positioned San Antonio Spurs.