By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
Luka Doncic made a detour toward the Detroit Pistons‘ bench during a timeout with 7.1 seconds remaining in the Dallas Mavericks‘ 111-105 win, ESPN reports.
He approached Pistons assistant coach Jerome Allen to offer a few parting thoughts, punctuating a conversation that had continued throughout the game, a final exchange that was extended as they barked at each other while Doncic slowly backpedaled toward the Dallas bench.
As the discussion ended, Doncic laughed and cracked a big smile. He had certainly gotten the final word, scoring 53 points in his return from a brief absence due to a sprained left ankle to lead the Mavs to victory.
“I mean, since the first quarter, he was chirping,” Doncic said after his NBA-leading fourth 50-point performance of the season. “You know I’ll chirp back. From the first quarter, he was chirping. I don’t want to say the words. I have no problem with that. It’s basketball. It gets me going for sure.”
Doncic glared at Allen after most of his baskets in the first quarter, when the Mavs were playing offense in front of Detroit’s bench and Doncic scored 24 points on 7-of-8 shooting. On several occasions, Doncic talked trash to Allen while jogging back on defense. That happened many more times throughout the game as Doncic tied Dirk Nowitzki for the second-highest scoring performance in franchise history, trailing only Doncic’s own 60-point outing in a Dec. 27 overtime win over the New York Knicks.
“It’s a bunch of nothing, a bunch of nothing,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We’ve seen worse. Remember I coached Gary Payton and Kevin Garnett so tonight was zero as far as chirping. I liked it. I thought it really got us going, and that’s the way it should be with competitive guys. Doncic is competitive as heck. I love the way he plays, the way he carries himself, and I love the way our guys responded. They weren’t intimidated. So it’s all good. It was clean, nothing dirty about it.
“It’s good if that’s what he needs to get himself going and tell himself. But he doesn’t need any help. He’s a great player without all the other stuff, but it is what it is.”
Doncic was remarkably efficient, going 17-of-24 from the floor, 5-of-11 from 3-point range and 14-of-18 from 3-point range in his return after missing one game with the ankle injury. He was coming off the only scoreless performance in his career, having exited Thursday’s win over the Phoenix Suns only three minutes and 21 seconds into the game due to the injury.
“Obviously not 100%, but it’s good,” Doncic said of the ankle. “Did some good work.”