'Ball just stuck too much': Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks to hone in on ball movement in Finals Game 2

Published June 8, 2024, 1:41 PMPao Ambat

Luka Doncic made his much-awaited NBA Finals debut, but the outcome wasn't what he expected.

Luka Doncic had 30 points and 10 rebounds in a Game 1 Finals loss against the Boston Celtics.

It’s no secret that Luka Doncic enjoys talking trash to whoever and whenever he wants. 

Not normally an outspoken guy off the court, the Slovenian superstar was a man of even fewer words after his first NBA Finals game. 

“We didn't do our job well,” Doncic said following the Dallas Mavericks’ 107-89 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.


“So we've got to focus on the second one.”


 Doncic made his much awaited NBA Finals debut and had a so-so game by his standards. He dropped 30 points and 10 rebounds to become just the first player since Tim Duncan in 1999 to record a 30-point double-double in his first Finals game.


The reigning Western Conference Finals MVP was 12-for-26 from the field, including 4-for-12 on 3-pointers, and he wasn’t the offensive force that propelled the Mavericks to their first Finals appearance in 12 years.

Doncic didn’t care much at all, and made it clear how the series will turn out to be.

“Either you win or you lose. First [team] to [get] four wins. We got to focus on the next game.

However, the one glaring stat in Game 1 is that for somehow, Doncic just managed to dish out one assist throughout the whole game.

For a player who averaged a career-high 9.8 assists during the regular season and 8.4 through the first three rounds of the 2024 playoffs, that one assist was troubling.

It was his lowest assist total for a single game since leaving a regular-season game against Phoenix with an early injury last season.

“Give the Celtics credit," Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said after the game. "They did a great job defending, making it tough on us. We had some good looks that didn't go down. We've got to move the ball. The ball just stuck too much. And we'll be better in Game 2.”

Aside from just recording nine assists the whole game, Dallas were not able to find their stride offensively, shooting 41.7% from the field and just 25.9% beyond the arc.

“I think we really got good shots.” Doncic said. “We just didn't make them.”

Down 58-29 late in the second quarter and trailing 63-42 at halftime, the Mavs made a run in the third quarter as Doncic had 10 points, six rebounds and two steals in the third quarter alone. 


 Dallas was able to cut Boston’s lead to 72-64 on Doncic’s 3-pointer with 4:28 left in the third.


“In those moments, we were playing our basketball,” Doncic said.

“We were getting stops. We didn't allow them to offensive rebound. We were having fun out there those couple moments, and that's what we've got to do more."

The Mavericks had two chances to make it closer but committed two turnovers, and Boston used a 14-0 run to push the lead to 86-64 en route to a dominating Game 1 win.

“We got to go game by game. Game 1 is over. We got to watch film, [see] what we did wrong and focus only on the next one,” Luka added.

Game 2 of the Dallas-Boston championship series on Monday, June 10 at 8:00 a.m. (PH time). This will be aired LIVE on One Sports, NBA TV Philippines, RPTV, and the Pilipinas Live app.