Real Madrid lost their second game in a row as they narrowly fell to Olympiacos 80-79 in Madrid on February 9th.
For top NBA prospect Luka Doncic, he enjoyed one of his best scoring games of the season as he went off for 27 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, 1-of-6 from three, 10-of-15 from the line, two rebounds, three assists, one steal, one turnover, one block and a PIR of 33 (!!) in 33 minutes of play in his first start since Round 11.
This is where we’re going to spend the majority of time today, so let’s go over how Doncic got to his 27 points and we’ll look at some of the negative stuff afterwards.
Doncic hit 7 of his 8 two-point attempts and here’s how he got himself on the board as he rejects the screen, gets inside, fades and hits the shot as he falls over:
Liked how Doncic was able to weave between/inside the defenders and the degree of difficulty in the finish is fairly high…
From the perimeter, Doncic again drives inside, fades and hits the shot:
Off of one leg too…
Again on the drive, Doncic decides to pull-up on this occasion and hits the mid-range J:
From the opposite side — similar to what we’ve seen already — Doncic again drives inside, pulls up just after the free throw line and hits the jumpshot:
Next, Doncic makes a great cut (selling the defender faking one way before going another), gets the ball and makes the layup and the foul:
Love the misdirection on this play by Doncic.
For his one three-pointer of the game, Doncic catches the ball after the drive and pass by Jeffrey Taylor, goes to right, steps back and hits the three:
In what was probably his best play of the game, Doncic unleashes a killer cross and the quick change of direction leads to a score at the score at the rim:
In transition, Doncic is leading the pack off-ball, then receives the ball and fakes at the rim to shed the defender for the easy score:
Doncic got to the free throw on 15 occasions in this game, we’ll look at a few instances of him getting to the line.
Doncic drew free throws when driving to the rim often, as he did here near the end of the first quarter:
On a switch this time as the 3rd quarter ticks to close, Doncic gets to the rim where he draws the foul and free throws:
One of my favourite fouls that Doncic drew came late in the fourth when he put a big on a switch on skates, dribble-drives past him and draws the foul:
Doncic drew at least six fouls in the fourth quarter alone — mostly on drives — and once in transition. He shot 10-of-15, and you’d like to see more than that made but Doncic was fairly tired in this game and most of his missed free throws were short.
Even though you’d like to see Doncic shoot maybe 12/13 out of 15, the fact he drew 15 free throws was still mightily impressive.
Alright, let’s move on to some of the not-so-good parts of Doncic’s offense this game…
You might have guessed but we have to talk three-point shooting.
Doncic shot 1-of-6 from three and a number of these attempt were not great.
In the first quarter, Doncic receives the ball, declines to take the immediate opportunity, takes a dribble and settles for a tough, contested three which misses:
Here, Doncic sizes up his defender on a switch and takes a step-back, contested three-pointer which misses:
There was one situation where a late shotclock situation forced Doncic’s hand somewhat but the shot taken is extremely difficult:
The three-point shooting is kind of a trip back to earlier in the season where Doncic settled often from behind the arc — about the only stain on Doncic’s offensive game.
That and, well, Doncic’s attempt to win the game for Madrid — just unable to break down the defense, falls over and has to pass it off and Madrid lose the game:
Doncic was a bit more in ‘score-first’ mode (whether that was related to him finally starting again, I don’t know) but a few things to show nevertheless…
In one of the few pick-and-rolls Doncic ran this game, he squeezes a pass to Taylor on the weak-side corner for a made three-pointer:
In another pick-and-roll with Edy Tavares, Doncic finds another shooter in the form of Trey Thompkins for a three-pointer on the second attempt having tried to link up with Thompkins:
Doncic linked up with Thompkins again, drawing the defense on the little drive, opening an opportunity for Thonpkins who misses the three:
On the drive this time, Doncic does indeed get inside, turns, finds Fabien Causeur for a three-point attempt but, again, it’s missed:
Here, Doncic finds Thompkins inside the arc this time with a beautiful drop-pass (seeing the play develop in front of him) to the cutting Thompkins, who muscles his way to the rim and hits the layup plus the foul:
There were a few possessions where Doncic put his teammates into good positions but they declined to take the shot available — or stepped out-of-bounds as Jeffrey Taylor did here after Doncic found him in transition:
In transition, Facundo Campazzo leads the charge, finds Doncic who fakes a three, drives a bit and finds Campazzo in the corner who elects not to take the three-point shot, choosing to drive and drawing the foul:
The usual ‘some good things, some bad things’ for Doncic on the defensive end.
Let’s start with some of the mishaps…
Here, he’s beaten by the dribble and Edy has to rotate over to cut off the danger and has to commit the foul, leading to free throws:
On this possession, Doncic is caught ball-watching somewhat and rotates too late as the help defender as the offensive player gets to the rim before dumping it off to Doncic’s man for the score:
On the offensive rebound for Olympiacos, you’d like to see Doncic contest this shot:
Again, I am probably nitpicking somewhat but, hey, worth pointing out anyways… Now for the good/better stuff.
Doncic may not have contested that last clip well but he did a much better job contesting this three-point shot which missed:
Again, a good contest (this time from a standstill) from Doncic but the shot still goes in:
He had better luck a little later, forcing a miss after another good contest:
Here, Doncic showcases his ability and versatility to switch on the defensive end, doing so on multiple occasions before Felipe Reyes commits the foul:
Here, Doncic comes over as the help defender to challenge and disrupt this shot at the rim, forcing the miss:
More disruptive defense from Doncic as he shades over to disrupt the pass and forces the turnover:
And finally, some good baseline, on-ball defense to prevent the penetration and Doncic forces the pass:
In closing vs. Olympiacos…
A very good game from Luka Doncic.
More of a focused effort on his own scoring and less facilitation to his teammates than usual but with how efficient he was inside the three-point line, I don’t think you can complain.
You’d obviously like to see the three-point attempts reigned in a bit but this was the first game in a while where Doncic has settled to this degree from the outside, to be fair.
From the free throw line, you’d obviously like to see maybe 12/13 out of 15 rather than 10 but he did look quite tired while taking some and a number of them were short. Again, the fact he got to the line 15 times is impressive to begin with.
For the game itself, disappointing for Madrid that Doncic couldn’t make something happen to win the game but if Madrid and Doncic had made their free throws (17-of-27) it wouldn’t have had to come to that… But, alas…
Defensively, again, more good than bad — few mental lapses but nothing that really worries me at the next level.
(Writing this the day after Real Madrid actually won the EuroLeague title against Fenerbahce and a few days after Luka Doncic won EuroLeague MVP. Incredible stuff.)