Real Madrid’s seven game winning streak finally came to an end as they fell short on the road against Malaga on January 19th.
For top NBA prospect Luka Doncic, it was a very efficient affair: 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, 3-of-6 from three, 1-of-2 from the free throw line, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one turnover and a PIR of 24 in 22 minutes coming off of the bench.
16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, 3-of-6 from three and 1-of-2 from the free throw line…definitely the most efficient night Doncic has had in EuroLeague for a little stretch, especially from behind the arc.
So, let’s start there: three-point shooting.
Doncic’s first points of the game came from behind the arc as he grabs the offensive rebound tipped out by Rudy Fernandez, late clock situation, shakes the defender with his patented step-back, rises and hits the three-pointer:
That jab-step was mean…
Coming up the floor in the second quarter, Doncic gets a slip from Trey Thompkins. As Doncic heads up, he hesitates, steps-back slightly and creates enough separation between himself and the defender and Doncic buries the three:
And for his most impressive shot of the game… Doncic, Thompkins and Madrid can’t work anything against a very sturdy Malaga defense and the end result — as it often is — that is Doncic has to try bail out Madrid. He’s unable to shake Ray McCallum with the dribble-drive, so he steps-back and hits the contested three-pointer as the shotclock is just about to expire:
As for Doncic’s misses from outside the arc… Won’t show them all but one of them did come in a late-clock situation but the others came in pick-and-roll situations, this one coming from Felipe Reyes:
I don’t want to dwell too much on Doncic’s misses from behind the arc because this was his best three-point shooting performance since Round 13 against Barcelona where Doncic shot 3-of-7 — this is Round 19, for reference.
Elsewhere, we saw Doncic — similar to the last game, which was the first game in a while where we saw this — operate in the post.
He backs down the smaller Ray McCallum in single coverage and draws the foul:
Unfortunately for Doncic on this occasion, the foul was called on the floor: no free throws this time.
Doncic had better luck in the third quarter where, again, he backs down McCallum in single coverage, spins, fades and hits the jumper off of glass:
Doncic had success getting to the rim in this game, mostly at the end of the game when Madrid were already out of the game.
But before that, Doncic zips past the Thompkins slip and gets by the help and McCallum, lifts his shot on the rim but it agonisingly rolls off the rim as he draws the foul, resulting in two free throws:
Now in the fourth quarter (and with Madrid chasing the game in the final minute), Doncic grabs the rebound and sets off. He skips to the paint, unleashes a beautiful euro-step and extends to lift the layup home:
In a half-court setting this time, Doncic receives the ball and his first step has the defense beaten, and he skips to the rim for the layup to give Madrid the tiniest bit of life in a game that is pretty much out of their grasp:
It hasn’t always been easy for Doncic to get to the rim on multiple occasions in a game but he was able to do so in this game…
Not a ton to report here from this game…
From the post, Doncic goes to work in the post and finds Edy Tavares passing out of the post, who scores at the rim:
Doncic and Edy would link up again in the third quarter as Doncic loops the pass over the defense to Tavares, who gathers and scores at the rim:
It’s like Doncic knows he can lead some passes a little longer and Edy will still get them, because Tavares is just that ridiculously long/tall.
In a pick-and-roll with Felipe Reyes, Doncic drops a beautiful bounce-pass to Reyes, who gets a decent head of steam toward the rim but can’t finish through the contact:
Coming in transition, Doncic receives the ball and is stopped in his tracks near the rim by two defenders. Scanning his option, Doncic whips a beautiful pass to the corner. Madrid work the ball and eventually Felipe Reyes draws a foul at the rim:
That’s really about it… Malaga did try to double/trap Doncic a couple of times: once at mid-court, where Doncic passed out and set up Trey Thompkins for a three-point attempt in transition:
And once out of a pick-and-roll, where Doncic committed his only turnover of the game:
Not a lot to say in this category today…
A little bit more to say here, however…
Doncic did not start this game well from a defensive point of view…
Here, Doncic is blown by on the perimeter, drawing the help in Jonas Maciulis. These frees up the man underneath the basket, who receives the pass and scores at the rim:
Shortly after that, Doncic (in the Madrid zone defense) and Santi Yusta both get drawn to the one man inside after the entry pass is made over the defense to Carlos Suarez. Suarez, smartly, immediately taps the ball out toward the three-point line to the man Doncic should’ve been closer to had the defensive communication been better. Doncic closes out but it’s not enough and the three is made:
Just before the end of the first quarter, Doncic is again blown by, this time by Ray McCallum, for the layup:
McCallum did give Doncic some trouble in this game.
On this possession, Doncic lets by McCallum a little too easily in transition, leading to a basket from McCallum:
Doncic did have one good defensive possession on McCallum shortly after that layup: McCallum tries to size up Doncic again but Doncic does a much better job staying in front of McCallum and as he tries to shoot, the help comes from behind in the form of Thompkins and Madrid come up with the ball:
Elsewhere, there was also this possession where Doncic bites on a fake which could’ve (and probably should’ve) resulting in an open shot, but Adam Waczynski elects to pass instead. The pass is deflected and is heading out-of-bounds until Doncic saves it (going over the advertising boards in the process) and the whistle is eventually blown, halting play:
Ending on a positive note, Doncic gets his hand in there, goes to ground and eventually comes up with a steal:
Hustling on defensive plays isn’t too unusual when it comes to Doncic…
In closing @ Malaga…
A good game from Doncic here.
Offensively, definitely his most efficient night in a while, especially from three-point range. The quality of his three-point attempts was good — a general theme over the last three games.
It was also a weird game… Coming off the bench has been a theme for Doncic for a good chunk of this season, and though he did start the third quarter he sat on the bench for most of the fourth quarter until there was about a minute and a half left in the game with the game escaping Madrid’s grasp… A strange one.
In terms of playmaking, not a ton to say here, though I did enjoy the play Doncic made for Edy from the post.
Defensively…ah… Usually the good and bad cancel each other out but not in this game — a lot more bad than good for Doncic on the defensive end. He was due for a game like that on the defensive end, I suppose…