The Dallas Mavericks are in a rough spot at the moment. They’ve lost seven of their last nine games, and their record has dipped to 25-24 on the season. They now sit in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, and with the February 9 trade deadline rapidly approaching, they may consider making changes.
Luka Doncic has been carrying the load for Dallas this season, leading to many fans urging the Mavericks to make moves. And in their most recent loss to the Washington Wizards on January 24, the Mavericks lost in crushing fashion, with Doncic fouling Kyle Kuzma in the final seconds, allowing him to nail what would be the game-winning free throw. After the game, Kuzma talked about the play and admitted that Washington was trying to hunt Doncic all night.
“So, I’m trying to get the ball into Brad[ley Beal],” Kuzma explained via the Wizards’ official YouTube channel. “They sent two to him. And then, we had a timeout, but I saw Deni. As Deni was about to go drive, I kind of just told – yelled his name, [he] gave me the ball back I looked at Brad for a second, I looked at the clock, and then I just kind of just went. Because I had Luka on me, and I knew that that’s who we were trying to hunt all night. And, you know, [I] tried to beat around the double team, and he found me. And thankfully, the refs called it and helped us prevail.”
Doncic has never been a great defender, but with how talented he is on the offensive end, he’s almost always on the floor. He played well on defense on that play against the Wizards, but Kuzma didn’t have space to run, so he was whistled for the foul. Head coach Jason Kidd challenged the call, but it was upheld.
Kuzma’s free throw capped off an impressive night for him. He poured in 30 points, five rebounds, and two assists on 12-of-23 shooting from the floor and 2-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point line. As for Doncic, his numbers were also impressive. He put up 40 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists on 16-of-29 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 shooting from distance.
Spencer Dinwiddie Discusses Playing With Luka Doncic
Doncic is one of the best players in the NBA, and as he showed during Dallas’ run to the Western Conference Finals last year, he is capable of leading a team deep into the playoffs. However, during an appearance on the Outta Pocket podcast, Spencer Dinwiddie spoke about the difficulties of playing with Doncic. Since Doncic will always be the superstar, the narratives surrounding the rest of the team are often damaging.
“Luka is obviously far and away our superstar, and we have other guys who are good players obviously,” Dinwiddie said. “But because there’s not another superstar, it’s not apples to apples, it’s always gonna be Luka and the boys. So you just got to be mentally tough and be built for that off the court, because like I said, on the court he’s going to make it a lot easier.”
Mark Cuban Denies Claim About Luka Doncic’s Demands
It was recently reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Doncic recently asked the Mavericks front office to improve the roster ahead of the trade deadline.
“Sources said Doncic, who hasn’t shown a desire to be involved in personnel matters in the past, has strongly indicated he wants the Mavs to upgrade before the Feb. 9 trade deadline,” MacMahon reported.
“Mark Cuban denies that Luka Doncic has indicated he wants the roster to be upgraded before the trade deadline.
“Cuban: “Tim MacMahon got it dead wrong. Luka has never suggested, asked, demanded or discussed changes to the roster,” MacMahon tweeted.