When the Dallas Mavericks stormed to a commanding 2-0 lead in opposition to the LA Clippers, many assumed Ty Lue’s staff was cooked.
Now, only a few days later, it’s trying extra doubtless that we’ll be sticking a fork in Dallas as a substitute.
Not solely have the Clippers responded with venom and vigour far past what most anticipated, however Luka Doncic is a great distance from the clear invoice of well being required for Dallas to win this collection.
Doncic didn’t look proper in Sport 3 and later confirmed he was experiencing ache in his neck and shoulder. He additionally mentioned he felt ache capturing down via his arm.
He managed to go well with up for Sport 4, however clearly wasn’t near 100%. Doncic was grimacing all through the night time and finally submitted his worst efficiency of the collection, ending with 19 factors, six rebounds and 6 assists on 37 p.c capturing.
For context, over the primary three video games of the collection Doncic averaged 38 factors, 9 rebounds and 9 assists on 52 p.c from the sphere.
“He’s in ache,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle mentioned following the Mavericks’ deflating Sport 4 loss. “It appeared to me that he couldn’t flip left, may look to his left, couldn’t flip his head to the left.
“That’s tough for a man that depends on peripheral imaginative and prescient and mainly has performed his entire life along with his head on a swivel. We’ve received to hope within the subsequent couple of days that he can get higher — hopefully considerably higher.
“There’s a two-day break between video games, which is a optimistic on this case. It’s a optimistic for each groups if you happen to’ve received guys beat up and banged up, which I’m positive each groups do on some degree. However his neck actually contributed to a 9-for-24 night time and him having some actual uncommon struggles.”
Doncic dismissed any ideas that his Sport 4 efficiency was because of his damage, as a substitute saying he had merely performed poorly. Nevertheless it’s clear his ailment is extra extreme than he’s letting on.
“The ache is in my neck and with my nerves,” Doncic mentioned. “I don’t actually know find out how to clarify that. It felt manner higher right now and this morning than it did yesterday. I’ll simply maintain doing massages and icing it down and I will likely be prepared for Wednesday.”
Nobody ever doubted he could be on the ground for Sport 5, however which Doncic we finally see on the market stays to be seen.