'It’s not over till it’s over': Luka Doncic voices out frustrations in Game 3 loss, remains defiant as Mavericks head to must-win Game 4 vs Celtics

Published June 14, 2024, 12:50 PMPao Ambat

The Dallas Mavericks need Luka Doncic on the court more than ever in hopes of turning the series around and keep their season alive.

Luka Doncic is averaging 29.7 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the Finals.

Despite having the Dallas Mavericks' backs against the wall, Luka Doncic is not unfazed. 

First to four, as he always says, but the Dallas Mavericks need to win now or else their season is going to end. 

“It’s not over till it’s over. We just got to believe,” Doncic said after a crushing 106-99 Game 3 Mavericks defeat that put Dallas in a 0-3 hole against the mighty Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. 

The Slovenian superstar finished with 27 points, six assists, and six rebounds but fouled out with 4:12 remaining down the stretch... just as Dallas was in the middle of a roaring comeback after trailing by 21 points early in the fourth. 

Doncic didn’t hold back his emotions after the game.

“We could not play physical. I don’t want to say nothing but six fouls in the NBA Finals where I’m basically [standing] like this. Come on, man. [Be] better than that.”

It was the first time that this year’s MVP finalist fouled out after 46 career playoff games, and just the third time in his NBA career.

“We had a good chance. We were close. Just didn’t get it, I wish I was out there.”


[ALSO READ: Tatum, Brown send red-hot Celtics to brink of NBA title with gutsy Game 3 win over Mavericks]

But he wasn’t, and in order for the Mavs to win, Doncic can’t foul out. Not in the Finals. Not in a close game just like in Game 3

He’s too valuable, too indispensable.

Dallas head coach Jason Kidd echoes Luka’s frustration, but laments his superstar guard needs to play smarter on both ends.

"Yeah, he's definitely got a bull's eye on his chest. He's got to be able to guard and understand that we're there to protect him and help him if he does get beat, to play the game where he can rest on offense and let others carry the load."

Kidd also took note how the Mavericks will approach a must-win Game 4 to try and extend the series to a fifth game back in Boston. "You talk about playing Game 4, that's it... Just have to take it one possession at a time. Control what you can control, your effort and your energy. "

Kyrie Irving, who led Dallas with 35 points in his best game of the NBA Finals yet, expects the squad to pull all the stops to keep their season alive.  

“I’m just appreciative that we can get a chance to extend the series or our season tomorrow, just leave it all out there. It’s all about pride thing now. Just putting our best foot forward.”