The best Kawhi ends Doncic's historic season

Kawhi had to squeeze himself to sentence the Texans, who threatened another comeback. Farewell to the historic season of a sublime Doncic (38 goals).

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It's still ironic that it happens at Disney, but the magic is over. At least in regards to Luka Doncic and all those who have (have) enjoyed a sublime and historic season, one that has broken barriers and established him, at 21 years old and only as a sophomore, in a dimensionless star of the best league in the world. The Slovenian gave in to the evidence and this time there were no unusual and unexpected tricks that rescued the Mavericks from a destiny that was already written but against which they have revolted until the end. Much sweat had to endure the Clippers, favorites to the ring, to end the Texan resistance, which extended the series too long for what surely a Kawhi would have liked, who has had to squeeze himself to the maximum to avoid going to a dangerous seventh game , as if it were too dangerous a way of playing with fire. Kawhi appeared to defend his throne and guided the Clippers to the second round, where they will wait for the Nuggets or Jazz. And he fired on the way a Doncic who has made a series, the first of his career, for history, with a fourth game that will enter the annals and that, including a winning shot, will take a long time to forget.

The game had everything, although at no time did it give the impression that it could fall on the side of the Mavs. Something that has already happened in the room, some may think, but magical things are magical precisely because they take place so infrequently, no matter how much Doncic has made us get used to them. The Slovenian finished with 38 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, including an excellent 15 of 28 in field goals, 4 of 9 in triples and a still improvable 4 of 8 in free throws. He has finished the first playoff series in his history with 31 + 9.8 + 8.7, the highest score in a debut in the final phase, two triple-doubles, two 40-point games, one winning shot, the third triple -double of the history of at least 40-15-10 and being the youngest player in history with a game-winner in this type of encounter. Little more to add for a very young player who has the world at his feet and is in the right franchise to conquer the NBA, with a manager of heights like Mark Cuban, one of the best active coaches (Rick Carlisle) and a quartermaster who will improve to be able to take the style beyond the spread pick and roll (one player drives, another blocks, three are placed beyond the line of three) that they already develop to perfection and have more weapons and more accompaniment to become fearsome.

In Game 6 against the Clippers, things worked out at first and everything promised with the expulsion of a Morris who gave Doncic a nasty smack. Yes, the same Morris who stepped on him in the previous duel and who has on the back of his shirt a slogan, educational reform, which we do not know if he has applied to himself. The first part was full of alternatives, with a Paul George (15 + 9 + 7) who started well but ended up diluting (not the first time) and a Kawhi who had the opposite dynamic. In fact, he must have thought about the break (51-57 for the Clippers) that he had had enough; the Angelenos put the direct, took advantage of the crisis in attack of a rival who came to miss three consecutive triples and went up 20. It seemed like the sentence, but with almost seven minutes to go, a triple by Luka Doncic put the Texans 82-88. Doc Rivers' time-out materialized in what has ended up being the biggest argument of a team with a lot of talent but little capacity for collaboration: balls to Kawhi. He was the one who solved with jump shots to sentence and send the Mavs home. With the help of, yes, a Reggie Jackson who scored 14 points, 12 in the last period and all in the form of triples. That kind of one-dimensional base that only knew how to play in one way in the Pistons has found its place under the orders of an intelligent coach as the complement that it always should have been.

Kawhi finished with 33 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals, sometimes acting as a facilitator (just like Paul George), something necessary in a team that lacks that figure and what people like Zubac took advantage of, who finished with 15 + 11 and a +33 with him on the track. On the Mavs, only Finney-Smith (16) and Hardaway (10) made it past ten, but Carlisle sure is happy. At the beginning of the project, reach the playoffs, fight without Porzingis and his battered knee against the favorites and have what is already a consolidated star full of optimism for the future of a team that has replaced Dirk Nowitzki with enviable alacrity and has put the direct to what can be an era dominated by an exceptional player. For now, the season ends for a Doncic who succumbs, no less, to Kawhi. But it is only one chapter in a career full of promise and an NBA that awaits the dominance of that 21-year-old boy who already makes everyone fall in love. Kawhi stays. And Doncic leaves ... But he will return. Nowitzki said it at the end: "Much to be proud of. And much to look forward to."



Photos from as.com
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