By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dallas Mavericks, headed by Luka Doncic, are ready to play in the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2011 and the championship campaign. The Slovenian superstar himself will be part of the second round for the first time in his NBA career.
Doncic, 23, previewing the best-of-seven series against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns singled out Mikal Bridges. The finalist behind Marcus Smart in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award is expected to be in charge of the demanding assignment to contain Doncic.
“They have Bridges,” mentioned the former player of Real Madrid in a Q&A featured on Mavs.com, “I know he’s going to be on me. He’s the best, in the top two guards, him and Smart. But it’s really tough against him. His defense is amazing. It really impresses me. But then on the offensive end, he improved so much that he’s a really amazing player.”
“It’s going to be tough. They’re the No. 1 team in the NBA. They were in the finals last year. So it’s going to be tough for us,” noted Doncic, “We’re going to have to play a great game to beat them, almost a perfect game. We need to follow the game plan and play hard.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. (left foot) and Croatian Dario Saric (right knee) are sidelined by the Mavs and Suns, respectively. The remaining players are all available for Game 1 at Footprint Center Monday night.
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