The Luka Special: “I like when people trash talk me”
The Mavericks are still in it after taking Game 6 to even the series 3-3 against the Suns, and Doncic says the trash talk helps motivate him.
In the Mavs Game 6 win over the Suns, it was again superstar Luka Doncic who dominated with 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. The win brings the series to a 3-3 tie with the Mavericks traveling to Phoenix for Game 7.
At some point during Game 6, Doncic tied the record for the third-fastest player to reach 700 points in the NBA playoffs, behind just Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
Ahead of the high-stakes Game 6, Suns guard Devin Booker was talking trash about Doncic, which has become common during the series between the two teams. When Doncic fell down and absorbed contact, Booker called it the “Luka special”. In that same game, the two were trading off insults throughout. When asked about the trash talk, Doncic said it motivates him.
“It gets me going. It’s fun,” said Doncic. “It’s competitve basketball and I like it.”
When Suns center DeAndre Ayton’s elbow came down on Doncic’s head, it was Doncic’s own teammate doing the trash talking.
“Bobby [Marjanovic] is the best trash talker,” said Doncic. “He said, ‘I hope Ayton’s elbow is good, ‘cause your head is so big.’”
It does appear that the trash talk worked to motivate Doncic indeed, as he seemed to enjoy proving them wrong and made the win that much sweeter. It will be interesting to see if he and the Mavs can keep that momentum up in Game 7.
How the Mavericks can win Game 7
Game 7 will be an elimination game for one of the teams. So far, each team has won on their own turf and lost when away, and the Mavs have the disadvantage of playing the last game in Phoenix. When they’re on, they’re playing good defense and putting up points from all of their starters. When they’re not, they’re playing poor defense and Doncic is carrying the workload.
“Games 3, 4 and 6 have been similar - 1,2 and 5 have been similar,” said Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd. “Here at home, we held them, our defense was great - everyone participated.”
“We have to play like we played at home,” said Doncic. “With this defense, we have an opportunity to win. If we play like we played in the other games on defense there [in Phoenix], we won’t have the opportunity to win. So, we need to adjust the defense there.”