Luka Doncic had a rough Conference Finals opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Thanks to Andrew Wiggins’ sticky defense, the Dallas Mavericks superstar wasn’t able to produce the usual stuffed output that he is having all throughout his NBA career.
But TNT play-by-play broadcaster Kevin Harlan provided different thoughts on why Doncic had an off-night in Game 1 against the Warriors.
“I hear he’s sick today,” Harlan told KNBR’s Greg Papa and John Lund on Thursday (h/t NBC Sports’ Tom Dierberger). “I guess he was up most of the night and ill. I’ve heard it now from two different people, so I’m assuming it’s probably true.”
Harlan didn’t specify whether Doncic had the disease prior to the tip-off or after the game. Further, the legendary commentator said that his sources didn’t come from either the Mavs or the Warriors.
“The body language that he showed, just the zest that he showed in Game 7 [of the Western Conference semifinals] in Phoenix was not there last night,” Harlan said. “And I’m not sure if perhaps he was a little bit under the weather [during the game]. He didn’t play like he played in the Suns series, that’s for sure, and he needed every ounce of what he gives them, and that was not apparent.”
Collectively, the Warriors clamped down the Mavs to just 31-of-86 field goal shooting and an abysmal 22.9 percent efficiency from three-point line (11-48). Meanwhile, their one-man system in Doncic was held to a minus-30 rating and a lowly 16.7 contested field goal attempts, the worst so far in his career.
“I don’t want to diminish at all what the Warriors did [defensively],” stated by Harlan. “It was sound and clear cut, there’s no ambiguity there whatsoever. … I’m just passing along what I heard from two people that he was up all night and sick.”
After the Game 1 loss, Doncic still looked high spirited upon their 25-point loss against Golden State. He told the reporters that their confidence is still swirling, just like what they had against the Phoenix Suns from the previous round.
“We have to play better and learn from it like we did in the Phoenix series,” Doncic said. “The confidence level is the same just like I said in the Phoenix series we believe.”
The West Finals will continue on Friday inside the Chase Center, and only time can tell if this murmurs about Doncic’s status is nothing but factual moving forward.