Luka vs. Clips

4 for 14.114-99 loss.

Jim Rome
November 27, 2019 - 10:33 am
Luka Doncic

USA Today

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Last night’s Clippers-Mavs game got a lot of hype in the buildup. A lot of talk about the Mavs winning streak. A lot of talk about the Mavs averaging more than 140 points in their last three games. And the fact that the Clippers had only won a single game away from home.

Folks were doing a lot of work to talk themselves into Dallas winning that game. And then the game itself happened. And Dallas looked rougher than their Fresh Prince of Bel Air jerseys.

Because the Clippers came out looking to make a statement. As Kristaps Porzingis said after the game: “They came into the game like, ‘We want to beat their ass.’ They had a little more attitude than we did. Got punched in the mouth a little bit. On to the next one.”

The Clips DID want to beat the Mavs ass.  SO THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID. 114-99. Dallas was averaging more than 140 the last three games and they didn’t crack 90 until garbage time.

They blew out a team that was putting up crazy offensive numbers.

Luka was coming in with four straight games of 30 points and 10 assists. Nobody has had an answer for him. Except for the Clippers.

Because defensively, LA might just have an answer for everything. And last night, the answer for Luka was to get physical with him. Really, really physical. Bang him around. And throw defenders at him.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Moe Harkless, and Rodney McGruder all took turns defending Luka.  There’s your nightmare fuel right there: have some, Luka. 

Just one of those guys is enough for most players, but when you have to face all five of them, three of whom are absolute lockdown, defensive stoppers, that is the stuff of hora! Those zombies don’t die: you can’t kill em….and whenever I think of zombies, I think of Ronda Rousey….and the first time I met her and spoke to her: before she had done blown up and taking over the world off MMA. I knew the day I met her she’d be a star: because she had this crazy IT; and right in the middle of the zombie craze I asked her what her strategy would be for dealing with, and she got off one of my favorite lines ever: (INSERT). F HOUSEBOATS! 

BACK TO LUKA…even if he could get past one of those lockdown zombies, he’d have to deal with the others who come over to help out.  And there’s always someone helping out.  George had 26 points and 6 steals in 29 minutes last night.

As Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Kawhi and PG, "You have two wing players that are probably the most physical wing players -- and the most athletic wing players -- in the game.  They are big, they are strong, and they are highly skilled."

And you can add unfair to that. . Having one guy on your team like that is a great advantage. Having two, plus Pat Bev, is cheating. That’s too much. That will destroy any normal person. And Luka isn’t normal.

Don’t look at last night’s numbers, 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and seven turnovers, and think that Luka is overrated. He’s not. He just ran into three of the best defenders in the Association.

And all three defenders were keyed on him. As Kawhi said they "wanted to do the best job we could on Luka. He's been killing it lately, playing at a very, very high level. We just wanted to make it difficult for him tonight, get some deflections, and I think we were able to do that."

That is correct. And it’s also correct, as George said, to note that Luka’s future is crazy: "He's still a baby. There's so much that he's gonna grow. He's really gonna figure it out. He's already amazing right now, so it's gonna be scary. It's gonna be scary when he fully figures it out and starts to really hit his prime."

And speaking of scary, the Clippers are going to be scary. In fact, they already are, but right now, they are just scratching the surface of who can they can be as a team. They’re 4-0 with Kawhi and PG in the lineup, but that is still a work in progress on the offensive end. And even on defense.

Even after that lockdown performance, George feels like there’s room for improvement: “We're becoming one of the best defensive teams in the league." That tells me they know they can get better. And if that happens, look the hell out.

And when they figure it out and they get into a rhythm at both ends, you can cancel Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, the Clippers players have got that covered too. Because for some reason, former NBA player Nick Young was tweeting about Christmas gifts last night and, invaluable sixth man that he is, Lou Williams came off the bench to provide the solution. I’m not going to read either tweet on the air, because I can’t. But you can find it if you want to.

And if you do find it, don’t tell me about it. I’ve already seen it. I don’t need to hear it from you. I’d rather talk about the Papa’s 40 pizzas in 30 days than Lou’s 12 days of Christmas.