Doncic: "I can't explain the emotions I had"

The Slovenian, hero of the night in the NBA, wanted to remember the medical team that treated his ankle. His coach surrendered: "He has a talent for the dramatic."

The Slovenian guard Luka Doncic who starred in another historic singles performance with a triple-double, including the triple that secured the victory (135-133) in overtime to the Dallas Mavericks against the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth game of playoff elimination had been "something special". Especially because he did it after injuring his left ankle 40 hours before the game, in the third game of the series, and playing without the star Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis, he goes down with pain in his right knee.

Doncic received clearance to play and proceeded to deliver a historic performance, crowning a masterpiece of 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists. But above all the triple, with a step back included, that sentenced the Mavericks victory and tied the series at 2-2 that they dispute the best of seven.

"I can't explain the emotions I had," Doncic stated. "Not just when the ball comes in, but when I see the whole team running towards me. That was something special, one of the best feelings I've ever had as a player. Just something special." The effort of the 21-year-old Doncic, who led the Mavs to the franchise's biggest comeback to the playoffs after Dallas lost 21 in the first half, certainly qualified as something special.

Doncic became the youngest player in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double in the playoffs. He tied for the second-highest-scoring postseason triple-double in league history, behind then-Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook with 51 points. The only other time a player capped a 40-point playoff performance with a decisive triple was when Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan did it against former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Craig Ehlo in 1989. "Look, we know this kid has a flair for the dramatic, "said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. "He's an actor as well as a great player. He's a guy who lives for these moments and is completely fearless."

Doncic responded well to 24-hour treatment overseen by Mavs director of player health and performance Casey Smith and his staff, sparking optimism that Doncic could play Sunday, as he did. "The pros you don't hear about did an amazing job with me yesterday," admitted Doncic, who joined Magic Johnson as the only players in NBA history with a pair of triple-doubles in their first four games of playoffs. Doncic explained that "we were working most of the day. They helped me all the time, everything I needed. Obviously it was not 100 percent, but I think it was fine." So good as to be able to play 46 minutes, his most participation in a game since he arrived in the NBA.

Doncic has hit many important shots in high-stakes situations before, having led Real Madrid and the Slovenian national team to titles at the highest levels of European competition. But he acknowledged that in neither case did they generate something as special as what he experienced at the end of the fourth playoff game against the Clippers and that he has allowed his team to get fully into the tie that is now the best of three games.

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