AMIC: Luka Donjic seeks career first, Jazz struggle with identity crisis and other playoff reflections

Luka Donjic On the verge of winning the first round of the qualifying series for the first time.

Given the size the 23-year-old deserves Dallas Mavericks Star Reputation, This is a strange advertisement being submitted for publication purposes. However, for all he has done, from appearing in three All-Star games to all-NBA first team picks and career stats streak from his four regular seasons he is just a crazy player (26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, eight assists per match), Donči has yet to make any kind of playoff round in his illustrious young career.

There was a 33-49 starter campaign as the Mavs failed to make the post-season, and the six-game bubble lost to clippers In his second season and losing the Clippers in seven games last season, his Game 7 performance — 46 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds — left little room for him to be considered the man of the fall. Still, while Tra Young Leading Atlanta to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and changing a not-so-good combo like Luca around him at Donči’s expense, the sluggish start to his playoff career remained.

But by the appearance of the Utah Jazz’s broken spirit in a Dallas win 102-77 in Game 5 on Monday that gave the Mavs a 3-2 lead in the series, this odd star is about to change. And no, for those wondering, there wouldn’t be any sort of an asterisk in this series just because Donči missed the first three matches with a calf strain. His last two matches were enough reminders that he is as special as today’s young stars.

Match 4:30 points (11 of 21 shots), 10 rebounds, four assists and a plus 7 that somehow wasn’t enough in Utah’s 100-99 win.

Match 5: 33 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, a rating plus 33 and that sucks 3 times Bojan Bogdanovic In the middle of the third quarter he pushed the lead to 28 and inspired a steve curryLuca glitter shoulder.

Here’s the funny part about Donči’s lackluster bio: It’s not like there’s anything to be ashamed of here. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Even before Monday night’s game, he had averaged 33.3 points, 9.1 assists and 8.9 rebounds in his 14 playoffs, thus, statistically speaking, his best post-season performance ever! No, not really. But it is still impressive.

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Regarding the post-season history of an individual player, no one has come anywhere close to averaging these kinds of numbers. According to, LeBron James – With an all-time high of 266 playoffs and an incredible 39-11 record – he approaches Donči’s marks with an average of 28.7 points, nine rebounds and 7.2 assists.

Except for the revival of this Jazz mojo that rarely appeared in Game 4, Dončić and the Mavs are finally about to be on their staged path against the winner of the fantastic Phoenix-New Orleans series.

It’s all (freaky) jazz

Talk about an identity crisis.

1 minute, jazz center Rudy Gobert He talks about how his team won in Game 4, which is a sign that this was “A team we want to be.” And next, with their uncertain season looming again like the jazz age teetering on the edge of the abyssThey do the kind of embarrassing effort that makes it nearly impossible to see them survive the series.

Along the way, the worrying trend continued: Donovan Mitchell It just doesn’t seem to be playing well on a consistent basis lately. Given the stakes here, with all signs pointing to second-year jazz owner Ryan Smith, who prioritized Mitchell above all else when it came to the future of his establishment, this is… less than ideal.

After Mitchell’s 4 out of 15 outing in Game 5 where he missed all three of his throws, he only shoots 37.1 percent for the series from the field and 19.2 percent from outside the arc (on 8.2 attempts each). Overall, he averaged 26 points, five assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.2 turns. And remember that all this comes after the extension of the second half of the regular season in which Mitchell’s struggles in the last quarter of the year were a major issue Utah also developed that brutal habit of blowing strings late.

For those who haven’t watched, Mitchell suffered a left hamstring injury late against Dallas but then insisted he would be “okay” for Game 6 in Utah on Thursday. He’d need to be better than that if they had any hope here.

Here’s to Bills…

No matter what happened next, these New Orleans Pelicans laid the kind of foundation that should serve them well in the years to come. especially if Zion Williamson He starts wearing that Pels shirt again at some point.

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Brandon Ingram He was the Elite in his first playoff game, against the league’s most dominant regular season team in Phoenix, averaging 29.8 points (4th among all players), 6.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists. CJ McCollum Continue to make the Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin seem smart to bring him into town on the trade deadline — no small feat given how brutal the first half of the New Orleans season was. And Jonas Valančiūnaswhose slicked-back hair constantly reminds me of catching up on HBO’s “Winning Time” because of its resemblance to Pat Riley, picked a great time to get Best playoff match of his life By ending the game with 26 points, 15 rebounds and four assists in New Orleans’ Game 4 victory over suns Sunday.

Raise your hand if this series tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 tonight in Phoenix. Now stop lying.

The Devin Booker Absence (hamstring) is huge for the Suns, but they spent their entire regular season winning games with key players out. This frightening challenge goes much deeper than that.

As the talented Pelican beat the writer, Will Guillory, Discussed in game details 4And Chris Paul He seemed confused in ways we never see against the Pelican’s defense. The Forced Violation Jose Alvarado Eight seconds It proved like any other play, but it was Paul’s play Herb Jones hit the head Just a few minutes later in the middle of the fourth quarter he seemed to reveal his level of frustration.

And what about Jones’ unspoken message of indignation shortly afterwards, when Paul tried to help him off the ground and the 23-year-old novice didn’t have it.

If you haven’t watched yet, Jones’ defense is worth your time all alone. The draft will always be a territory for those who want to pick, but it’s still amazing to think that the Alabama producer finished 35th after winning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards last season.

Finally but not anywhere near at least, Pelicans first-year coach Willie Green deserves all kinds of praise for pushing this group through a 3-16 start that left them looking doomed before the turnaround began. The fact that he’s facing his best friend and mentor, Monty Williams of the Suns, adds another layer of humanity to the confrontation which was another highlight (our Jason Quick wrote Great piece about that relationship here).

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You won’t hear any complaints from me if this series continues at seven.

Boston win

Speaking of the special young stars, you left great Jason Tatum A note from my Saturday story discussing Boston’s dynamic defense against Kevin Durant. According to one of the competitor scouts I spoke with, his team’s defensive analyzes of the opponents players indicate that Tatum is the best defender in this regard. Celtics A band full of them.

This means two things – one obvious and one not so much…

  1. Tatum was ranked even better than his recently named Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart…or the big man Robert Williams … or Jaylyn Brown … or Grant Williams. You found the idea.
  2. I was (ish) acquitted in my own home that my youngest son’s colleague recently learned that I didn’t have Smart in my top three at DPOY and very much excepted. I voted Garen Jackson Jr. first, Michael Bridges The second and Joubert III.

After completing the sweep of Brooklyn on Monday night, Boston will now wait to face the winner of the Bucks-Bulls Series. But that didn’t stop Smart from reminding fans that the Celtics – in stark contrast to Milwaukee – made the bold decision to continue winning games at the end of the regular season even if it meant they faced Durant.Keri Irving-Drove Networks In the first round.

“It’s funny to us, because we don’t cheat or evade anyone,” Smart reporters After winning 116-112 in the Brooklyn liquidation. “That’s part of the game. We had to play with them eventually, so you can come up with it now.”

Have they ever done that. Only Irving and these networks could figure out why I didn’t have time to gel During the regular season (insert palm face emoji here).

(Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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