The Mavericks are still breathing, and for that, they have Luka Doncic to thank. Named to the All-NBA first team for the third time in four seasons, the 23-year-old Slovenian helped Dallas stave off elimination with a near triple-double, contributing 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would suggest (119-109). Through it all, Jalen Brunson—who is going to be a coveted commodity on the free-agent market this summer—provided his usual steady hand, giving a complete performance with 15 points, five boards, five assists and one blocked shot, all without committing a single turnover.
Summoned by TNT’s Inside the NBA crew for a post-game interview, Brunson was asked how he views himself compared to his father, former NBA point guard Rick Brunson. This was his response.
“Stop that! My dad wasn’t even a player compared to me,” said Brunson, having a laugh at his old man’s expense. “That’s offensive.”
Though his pop probably had a word with him after those comments, Brunson isn’t wrong. The elder Brunson spent his career as a journeyman, averaging just 13.5 minutes per game over nine NBA seasons including stints with New York, Boston, Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers), Houston, Chicago, Toronto and Seattle. Meanwhile Brunson, a former Naismith Player of the Year at Villanova where he won two national championships, has been the Mavericks’ second-leading scorer this postseason, averaging over 22 points per game on efficient 47-percent shooting.
Dallas took care of business Tuesday night but the Mavs still face an uphill battle, trailing 3-1 heading into Thursday night’s Western Conference Finals Game 5 at Golden State. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit (0-146).