NBA

Luka Doncic takes blame for Game 2 loss despite triple-double: ‘Cost us the game’

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Despite dropping 32 points, winning 11 rebounds and handing out 11 assists in Sunday’s Game 2 at the TD Garden, Luka Doncic blamed himself for his team’s loss, as the Mavericks fell 105-98 in Boston. After his triple-double performance, teammate Kyrie Irving refused to let his co-star take all the responsibility.

The Slovenian said that he failed in two specific stats, that if he were more precise, Dallas could’ve even won the match. “I think my turnovers and my missed free throws cost us the game,” Doncic shared despite joining Charles Barkley, LeBron James and Jerry West as the only players in league history to record a 30-point triple-double in a Finals loss.

“So, I’ve got to do way better in those two categories,” the superstar insisted postgame. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to make shots to win the game.”

However, the player who really hasn’t been himself during this NBA Finals series is Irving. The guard needs to take more shots in order for the Mavericks to comeback from this 2-0 record, especially as the Celtics haven’t lost a single game in the past month.

This time around, Kyrie hit 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting this weekend, ending the contest with fewer points than his very own field goal attempts for a second-consecutive match. The veteran had scored 30 or more points in three of their four victories against the Wolves.

Now, he’s only averaged 15 points on 37.1% shooting in the championship series. “He’s not alone, and we are going to tell him that,” he said of Luka. “He’s spilling into his emotions, feels like he could play better, just like me. I would take the brunt of the responsibility. The first two games weren’t the best for me.”

“A lot of shots were hitting the back rim,” said Kyrie, who is yet to score from beyond the arc. “That could piss you off as a competitor, but it’s all part of the game of basketball. And you have to accept the ups and downs of this. That’s, I would say, the toughest challenge when you’re in a series. You want to play extremely well, especially when you’re playing in a Finals.”

Despite underperforming, coach Jason Kidd didn’t put down Irving and suggests they need a little bit of luck

Even though both Dallas stars had a tremendous start in Game 2, as they combined for 21 points only in the first quarter and led the game, they eventually cooled off while playing under the pressure from Celtics’ guards Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown.

“A little disappointed in myself not being able to convert a lot more on my opportunities that I have in the lane. Obviously, I’m going against Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown a few times, but I feel like I have the upper edge on certain possessions where I’ve just got to convert,” Kyrie said about his performance.

According to his career stars, the Dallas guard is 10-of-31 (32.3%) from the floor when he shoots off a dribble in the NBA Finals. During the first three series of the playoffs, Irving dropped in 42.9% of those attempts, including 21-of-58 from range.

“He had great looks. They just didn’t go down,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd of his player. “That’s just the game of basketball. Sometimes you make them. Sometimes you don’t. You continue to keep playing.”