Luka Doncic Says He Was Bothered by Neck Injury in Mavs' Game 3 Loss to Clippers

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 29, 2021

DALLAS, TX - MAY 28: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during the game against the LA Clippers during Round 1, Game 3 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 28, 2021 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic said he felt pain in his neck that eventually traveled down his left arm during Game 3 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

"It's just weird," Doncic told reporters. "I don't know how you call it. It's just some massage, some rest, and hopefully we're good."

The Clippers secured a 118-108 win that cut the Mavs' series lead to 2-1.

Doncic was his typically productive self despite the injury, recording 44 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in 39 minutes. He knocked down 15 of his 28 shots, including seven of his 13 threes.

The 22-year-old two-time All-Star dealt with a variety of ailments—quad, back and elbow—during the regular season, but this is the first time a neck injury has popped up.

While it doesn't sound like an issue that'll threaten his availability for Game 4, it's something he may have to manage for a while with a minimal number of off days during the playoffs.

As for the Mavs as a whole, they hit 20 threes and shot 51.3 percent from beyond the arc, but it wasn't enough to overcome a lackluster defensive performance as the Clippers made 57.9 percent of their shots in Game 3.

"They had a great night and we did not," Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said. "The crowd was great. They were into it. We've got to get them more into it by finding ways to get more stops and rebounds."

Kawhi Leonard led L.A. with 36 points, and Paul George added 29 as the Clips overcame an early 30-11 deficit to avoid the dreaded 3-0 series hole.

Their win turns Game 4, scheduled for Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT, into an ultimate turning-point contest for both teams.