Luka Doncic had every reason not to play this game for the Dallas Mavericks. He had every reason to stay on the bench, rehab his destroyed ankle, and try to get ready for Game 5. He had every reason to play horribly tonight. He had every reason to play less than 25 minutes, play exclusively off-the-ball, and avoid contact at all costs. He had every reason to struggle from deep, play bad defense, and be a complete non-factor in this game.
But that’s not who he is.
Instead, Luka Doncic scored 43 points on 58 percent shooting. He hustled on the boards, getting 17 rebounds. He got his teammates involved, dishing out 13 assists. He played every single second of the third quarter and was responsible for all 35 points in the 12 minute span. He played incredible defense, owning a plus/minus of +11, bringing in two steals and blocking a shot. He shot 40 percent from three, one his makes perhaps the biggest of his career.
Even on a sprained ankle, without his best teammate, and with three other starters being a negative, Luka Doncic is who he is. And who he is one of the most incredible players in this league.