Luka Doncic Says Mavericks Struggling with Energy During Recent 2-5 Stretch

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic walks to the bench during a timeout in the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks are not exactly rounding into form as the playoffs approach.

Dallas fell to 2-5 in its last seven games following Sunday's 121-107 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Luka Doncic admitted that the team's energy has been an issue of late.

"I don't know, but all I know is it's got to start with me," he told reporters when asked how to fix it. "I've got to do way better, keeping guys motivated. It starts with me."

While the dog days of summer is a phrase associated with the drag of the baseball season, it's difficult not to get that sense at times from the 2020-21 NBA campaign.

Teams have been asked to squeeze games into a condensed schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there have been a number of significant injuries. Fatigue starting to set in and impacting the energy in Dallas and elsewhere would be somewhat understandable, especially with more important playoff games around the corner.

Still, this squad is not exactly in a position to simply be coasting until the postseason.

The Mavericks occupy the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference standings at 30-26 and are just a half-game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. They are also two games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the ever-important No. 6 seed.

The Nos. 7-10 seeds will participate in the play-in tournament this season, so earning the No. 6 seed would give the Mavericks a rest and perhaps allow them to recoup some of their energy prior to the playoffs.

While Doncic accepted the responsibility for trying to motivate the team to play better, it is hard to blame him for the recent downturn.

He scored 37 points in Sunday's loss and just missed a triple-double in Friday's loss to the New York Knicks with 22 points, 19 assists and eight rebounds. That type of production from the star player should help Dallas remain competitive in any game, although that has not been the case of late.