Kidd admits Mavs are wasting Doncic’s talent as star confronts fan in loss | Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd says his star player Luka Doncic cannot continue to carry the team on his own as they went down to another defeat to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Slovenian All-Star scored 35 points on Wednesday night but was responsible for most of the Mavs’ offense as the Suns completed a 129-109 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Doncic scored more points on Wednesday than Dallas guards Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie have managed in the last two games combined.

“He had a great game, but no one else showed,” Kidd said. “We’ve got to get other guys shooting the ball better. We can’t win with just him out there scoring 30 a night – not at this time of the year. And we’re playing the best team in the league, so we’ve got to get other guys going.”

However, Doncic was far from perfect himself and the Suns targeted him when they were on offense in the second-half, when they scored 71 points.

“Tough matchup to guard,” Booker said of Doncic, “but he’s going to have to guard a bit.”

Doncic himself agreed. “I’ve just got to play better defense,” he said. “That’s it.”

Chris Paul in particular went after the 23-year-old Doncic, particularly during a 21-7 run for the Suns at the start of the fourth quarter that effectively settled the game.

“We need to do a better job of helping him [on defence],” Kidd said. “They’re bringing him up into everything. We knew that coming into the series. We knew that in the last series. We did a better job of protecting one another, not just Luka. We’ve got to get back to protecting one another for Game 3 back at home.”

Doncic’s frustration showed in his interaction with the Suns fans in Phoenix. He regularly gestured and directed words at them after making baskets. During the third quarter he had to be held back by security after taking exception to something someone in the crowd said to him.

In Wednesday’s other game, the Miami Heat took a 2-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals with the Philadelphia 76ers, who were again without franchise cornerstone Joel Embiid, who has a facial injury.

After the game Sixers coach Doc Rivers said he is unsure if Embiid will be back for Game 3.

“I really don’t know,” Rivers said. “We talked [Tuesday]and we talked [Wednesday]. He looked good, as far as talking. But he’s got so many steps to go through, and I don’t think he’s cleared any of them right now. So we just have to wait and see.”

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