Luka Doncic, his stepback 3s, and the Dallas Mavericks were torching them. They had no answer.
Their centers were being taken out beyond the 3-point line and attacked. When that wasn’t happening, the Mavericks were rotating the ball around the perimeter and going at other perceived mismatches. Not to mention Doncic was taking small guards into the post and bludgeoning them. Something could have been done about it, but no adjustments came.
What a difference a year makes, huh?
Where the Phoenix Suns failed, the LA Clippers ultimately succeeded. And a lot of that was thanks to coach Tyronn Lue, who went above and beyond when it came to making tweaks and figuring out what could work.
A small guard getting punished in the post by Doncic? Take him off the floor.
Patrick Beverley, who did happen to be the Clippers’ best perimeter defender, started the first two games against the Mavericks in last year’s first round. But Beverley was overmatched routinely whenever he shared the floor with Doncic. The talented Slovenian would take Beverley into the post and bully him.
In the 46 minutes that Beverley spent on the floor at the same time as Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks had a 131.9 Offensive Rating. It promptly led to Lue opting to remove Beverley from the starting lineup…