Doncic takes blame for Game 2 loss, highlights where he must improve

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Doncic takes blame for Game 2 loss, highlights where he must improve originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It’s hard to fault Luka Doncic for the Dallas Mavericks losing Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Sunday night.

The Mavericks guard scored 23 points in the first half and finished with a triple double of 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He was the only Dallas player who hit multiple 3-point shots or was any kind of consistent threat offensively.

Despite a pretty good performance, Doncic took the blame for the loss during his postgame press conference.

“I think my turnovers and my missed free throws cost us the game,” Doncic told reporters. “So I’ve got to do way better in those two categories. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to make shots to win the game.”

This might be more of Doncic being a leader and taking accountability than him actually believing these factors cost the Mavericks the game. Superstars do this after losses all the time, even if they weren’t the main reason why their team lost.

But there is some truth in what Doncic is saying.

The Mavericks were awful at the free throw line and made just 16 of their 24 attempts (66.7 percent). Half of those eight free throw misses were by Doncic.

He also had a game-high eight turnovers.

This turnover with four minutes left in the fourth quarter was particularly egregious. Doncic threw a lazy lob pass that was intercepted by Derrick White, The ball eventually found Jrue Holiday, who hit a 3-point shot to increase Boston’s lead to 11. Doncic didn’t close out on Holiday’s 3-point attempt, either.

Doncic wasn’t the primary reason why Dallas lost. But his turnovers, missed free throws and 1-of-6 shooting in the fourth quarter certainly didn’t help.

The Celtics’ ability to guard Doncic straight up and not need to send double teams is making it tough for the Mavericks to get open shots. At some point, the Mavs need to figure out a way to get open looks for their role players because Doncic can’t beat the Celtics by himself. It also would help Dallas if Kyrie Irving played like a superstar. He is shooting 13-of-37 in the series.

It needs to be a total team effort from the Mavs, and they still haven’t given one in this series.

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