Luka Doncic Praises Mavericks for 'Incredible' Team Win in Game 7 vs. Suns

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 16, 2022

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 15: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks walks on to the court before the game against the Phoenix Suns during Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 15, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 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 Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was all smiles following his team's dominant 123-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night in the Western Conference semifinals.

"This was amazing. Everybody was locked in," Doncic said to Allie LaForce on the TNT broadcast. "Everybody played as hard as they can—no rest, we didn't take one play off. So this is an incredible team win. I just have nothing to say."

This will undoubtedly be painted as a meltdown of epic proportions from the Suns. You can't be the top seed in your conference and lose a winner-take-all game at home by more than 30 points. Equally as inexplicable are Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker and Chris Paul combining to score 26 points.

But this was also the kind of effort from Doncic that will take on an added significance if the Mavericks reach the NBA Finals or win it all. With his team as an underdog on the road, the three-time All-Star rose to the occasion and dropped 35 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals.

His numbers would've been even bigger had played more than 30 minutes, his fewest of the playoffs so far. When you're up 30 points at halftime, you can afford to have your best player take his foot off the gas in the second half.

Of course, it's important to put this into its proper context to a degree.

For players at Doncic's level—or at least the level he can seemingly attain—the conference semifinals aren't the final proving ground. What happened on Sunday will merely become a footnote should the Mavericks get outclassed by the Golden State Warriors in the next round.

Having said that, this could represent the 23-year-old turning a corner and putting himself on a track to enter the kind of rarefied air reserved for the elite of the elite. The potential was obvious, and now it's translating on the biggest stage. Dallas might even be ahead of schedule as a contender.

Do you want to be the team facing off against Doncic and the Mavericks right now?