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Luka Doncic notes series will be tough vs Suns with Mikal Bridges as primary defender

Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic

Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic fully understands that this upcoming second-round series will be a daunting one because of Phoenix Suns super wing Mikal Bridges. 

In a Q&A interview that was provided by Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com, Doncic said that Bridges will be a difficult one to deal with because of its elite defense and two-way game. 

“They have Bridges,” Dončić said about one of the challenges that Phoenix will present. “I know he’s going to be on me. He’s the best, in the top two guards, him and Smart. But it’s really tough against him. His defense is amazing. It really impresses me. But then on the offensive end, he improved so much that he’s a really amazing player.”

With his smothering presence and lethal wingspan, Bridges established himself as the Suns’ heart of defensive identity — who further emerged as one of the winning favorites in this season’s Defensive Player of the Year. 

Yet, he only came up short against Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, who became the first guard to bag the said plum since the hall of famer Gary Payton in the mid-90s.

The Slovenian superstar further acknowledged the 25-year-old swingman’s instincts on assaulting his defensive assignment. 

“He has strong hands, that’s one part,” Dončić said. “But I think he’s smart on the defensive end. He knows where to attack the ball, where to go for a blocked shot, really smart on defense.”

Facing the best regular season team of the association, Doncic might expect more bodies to guard him up as the Mavs’ de facto system. As such, the tricky and sturdy veteran in Jae Crowder is an expected one to pull off a support on Bridges. 

The Mavs and the Suns are set to begin their West semis square-off on Monday in Arizona. 

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