Luka Doncic Praised for Refusing to Get Punked in Mavs' Game 3 Win over Suns

Doric SamMay 7, 2022

DALLAS, TX - MAY 6: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns during Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 6, 2022 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 2022 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks star point guard Luka Doncic was the target of the Phoenix Suns' offensive attack in the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals.

After constantly getting scored on and enduring some ridicule from opposing players, Doncic responded in Friday's Game 3 with a hard-nosed performance to lead the Mavericks to a 103-94 win at American Airlines Center to cut the series deficit to 2-1. Doncic finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and two steals.

Throughout the game, fans and analysts online were impressed with Doncic's toughness and how he bounced back from the first two games.

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

Luka fought back tonight. Dude ain’t no punk and you gotta respect that

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

Yeah but I’m not talking about the result of the game. I’m talking about Luka standing up to what the suns did to him on Wednesday night <a href="https://t.co/xX6WM0Q8HW">https://t.co/xX6WM0Q8HW</a>

Paul Pierce @paulpierce34

How is Luka doing it with this team is he the real MVP

Sam Gannon @SamGannon87

The evolution of Luka into "Bully Luka" kinda fun. No?

Dez Bryant @DezBryant

Luka a bully 😂

Rafael Barlowe @Barlowe500

Luka Doncic bully ball game

Jared Wade @Jared_Wade

The best part about Luka is how insulted he is that you would even consider guarding him. It's a personal affront that you try.

Joe Knows @JoeKnowsYT

If you watch Luka and don’t see an all time great when it’s all said and done, then you don’t know ball

Chris Williamson @CWilliamson44

Luka said we ain’t getting swept!!!

StatMuse @statmuse

Luka Doncic tonight:<br><br>26 PTS<br>13 REB<br>9 AST<br>2 STL<br>+20<br><br>No one on the Suns can guard him. <a href="https://t.co/tK2pHptZYD">pic.twitter.com/tK2pHptZYD</a>

nick wright @getnickwright

Luka averaging 35-10-8 on 50/40 splits thru 3 games against the league’s best defense. 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

Guru @DrGuru_

Luka definitely saw that video of CP3 &amp; Booker laughing at him. <br><br>Bro was playing ANGRY and PHYSICAL in the 1st half.

Dallas' supporting cast finally showed up to give Doncic some much needed help. Four other players scored in double figures, led by Jalen Brunson's game-high 28 points.

Doncic has never been questioned for his offensive prowess. He's definitely proved himself on that end with 106 combined points over the first three games of the series. 

But it's taken some time for Doncic's defense to catch up to his offensive brilliance. While he still has a ways to go to be a consistently reliable defender, he's made massive strides on that end of the floor this year after head coach Jason Kidd challenged him to improve. His defensive effort paid off on Friday.

The Mavericks still face an uphill battle against the top-seeded Suns, the favorites to win the NBA title. But if Doncic can continue to play with the attitude he showed on Friday, Dallas will have a better chance at spoiling Phoenix's coronation.