Real Madrid made it seven wins in a row as they came-back and knocked off Baskonia in Madrid on January 17th.
For Luka Doncic — similar to the last few games — it was another so-and-so game by his high standards: 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field, 1-of-3 from three, 5-of-6 from the line, four rebounds, three assists, three steals, two turnovers and PIR of 16 in 21 minutes off of the bench.
Let’s get into it
12 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field, 1-of-3 from three and 5-of-6 from the free throw line…
We’ll start with the threes…
1-of-3 on his threes but, really, it’s 1-of-2 because one of those attempts came in a near full-court heave at the end of the third quarter — not exactly a shot in the offense.
Since there’s really only two attempts from three, may as well go through them both.
One of the first things Doncic did was he came off a screen set by Edy Tavares, gets just past the three-point line, steps back and cans the three-pointer:
It’s been a little bit since we’ve seen Doncic connect on one of these step-back threes…
The other three-point attempt came in crunch time in the fourth quarter as Doncic comes off of a screen and springs into a three with 14 seconds left on the clock:
I’m a little down on this shot because there’s an aspect of ‘hero-ball’: no one else touches it, early enough shot and it was semi-contested in the end.
As for the rest of Doncic’s offensive game, he was limited by the Baskonia defense, who showed good defensive activity on Doncic.
On a few occasions, Doncic looked to make something happen in transition (as he likes to do) but the Baskonia defense didn’t show leaks in transition, and Doncic was forced to look elsewhere:
Again, in the fourth quarter this time, Doncic tries to scout what’s available to him in transition but is, again, cut-off and has to give it up:
After hopping in to come up with a steal, Doncic — one last time — pushes in transition but has to pull on the brakes as the Baskonia defense gets back and prevents any scoring opportunity off of the live-ball turnover:
In a half-court situation, more good Baskonia defense means that Doncic can’t turn the corner and has to look elsewhere:
Again, more good defense by Matt Janning, who cuts Doncic off and forces him to look elsewhere for offense:
Doncic committed three turnovers in this game, one of them coming after good help defense from Kevin Jones, stripping the ball from Doncic:
May as well cover the other turnover Doncic committed, while we’re here…
Doncic comes off of a Felipe Reyes screen, his defender — Luca Vildoza — gets back in front of Doncic after the screen and comes up with the steal, igniting a Baskonia fastbreak:
You can see number 11 (Matt Janning) was ready to shade over to Doncic if Vildoza was unable to get back in front of Doncic — had it planned all of the way.
For the some of Doncic’s actual other shot attempts/makes…
Doncic finally went back to his post game, which was pretty successful in the early stages of this season — not so much against Baskonia.
In the second quarter, he tries to back down Vildoza (a good decision, there’s a clear size advantage in Doncic’s favour), gets into the paint, steps to his left, tries to draw contact/the foul as Vildoza leaves his feet but nothing is called and the shot attempt is missed:
In the fourth quarter, single coverage, Doncic backs down Vildoza from the three-point line all the way into the paint. He spins to his left, fakes (I’m assuming to try draw some contact — Vildoza is unfazed by this fake — puts up the shot, it bounces on the rim but ultimately falls off:
Good defense by Vildoza on this occasion.
Doncic did draw free throws on his first post attempt after his spin and fake drew contact from Vildoza, sending Doncic to the free throw line:
I’ll use this as a segue to move onto free throws, which Doncic earned six of in this game.
Two of them came from the post move that we just looked at, another two came when in transition — one of the few opportunities Doncic had in transition — Doncic gets all the way to the rim from his own basket and draws contact at the rim, sending him to the line:
Doncic registered three assists in this game but, honestly, I don’t think that was the case — think the home scorekeeper was a bit generous with what he considered an assist.
Not a ton of pick-and-roll opportunities created in this game (a lot of what Baskonia did defensively, as we’ve looked at), but Doncic links up with Edy and Tavares draws the foul inside:
Some good defensive activity here but not the best job by Edy screening/re-screening.
Doncic linked up with Rudy Fernandez on a number of occasions in this game, the first of which occurred in the first quarter where Doncic gets the ball to Fernandez, who fakes the three, takes a dribble and rises into a three-pointer:
In crunch time in the fourth quarter, Doncic rejects the screen, goes to his left and sets up Rudy for a three-point attempt which Fernandez misses:
Doncic and Fernandez would link up (to a degree) one more time as Doncic passes the ball to Rudy in the corner, Rudy takes another dribble-step and hits the game-winner:
Doncic actually collapses the defense briefly, and as he passes to Fernandez, the help defender is already scrambling somewhat, presenting a great opportunity to Fernandez to shot-fake, step inside and hit the game-winner.
I know I’m going to sound like a broken record when I say this but it really is true: there were ups and downs on the defensive end for Doncic in this game.
We’ll start with the good stuff…
Doncic had three steals in this game, this first one comes from Doncic jumping the passing lane (anticipating) and he goes down the other end scores the layup:
Doncic had quite the sequence in the second quarter: he gets physical defensively (like to see that), he’s on-hand to steal a cross-court pass (the Madrid zone defense putting him in a good position to do so), goes down the other end and misses two shots at the rim:
Quite the sequence… Again, the zone defense puts Doncic in a position to come up with a steal, and he leads the fastbreak but has to put on the brakes as Baskonia set up defensively:
Doncic whips out some good hustle as he gets back in transition and contests a three-point attempt from Baskonia that misses:
Moving onto some of the ‘meh’ stuff defensively…
Here, Doncic is whizzed by a little easily near the rim as Baskonia come charging in transition:
And finally (not a lot in this department today), Doncic doesn’t rotate as the help defender and it leads to a basket for Baskonia:
I know that’s technically not Doncic’s man — and it’s Rudy Fernandez’s fault — but you’d just like to see him have that defensive awareness/take that defensive responsibility to rotate and help contest that shot.
In closing vs. Baskonia…
Offensively, it was a tough game for Doncic. Baskonia did a good job limiting not only his scoring but the number of shots and opportunities that Doncic saw.
Again, similar to last game, good to see that those wild three-point attempts by Doncic have been reigned in — would obviously prefer to see him shoot 1-of-3 rather than 2-of-8 or 3-of-9 from three.
In terms of playmaking, not a ton to talk about in this game. There are some games where Doncic and Edy just don’t link up a lot in pick-and-roll scenarios and this is one of many areas where Madrid miss Gustavo Ayon.
Defensively, a really solid game. A few downs but mostly ups as Doncic continues to learn defensively. His effort has been solid too of late, really solid. Certainly in this game he was more than able to hold his own defensively — and some, picking up those three steals.
The boxscore won’t tell you the whole story, a good game from Doncic here…