After smashing Barcelona last time out, Real Madrid lost a close encounter with defending champions Fenerbahce in Madrid on March 2nd.
For top NBA draft prospect Luka Doncic, it was a bounce back game after a tough outing against Barcelona: 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 1-of-4 from three, 3-of-4 from the free throw line, one rebound, four assists, one steal, three turnovers and a PIR of 17 in 28 minutes coming off of the bench.
Let’s go through it…
14 points for Doncic, let’s go through how he got to those 14 points.
It began with Doncic drawing free throws after getting bumped on the drive:
Not a great foul to give away…
Off of the Fenerbahce turnover, Doncic streaks ahead off-ball and is found by Gustavo Ayon and Doncic does the rest:
What I really liked on this play was that Doncic used the rim to shield the ball from any potential shot blocker. If he had used the other side of the rim, the block would’ve been more realistic if the defender was chasing.
For his only three-pointer of the game, Doncic bides his time before simply takes a dribble to his left and rises into a contested three:
Next, Doncic comes off of the Edy Taveres and gets to the free throw line area where he bumps into the defender behind him before rising into an easy jumper in the paint:
Doncic turned defense into offense as he comes up with a steal, heads down the court and almost (kind of) cradles the ball as he goes by the defender to protect the ball and lays it in:
In one of his best moments in this game, Doncic manages to squeeze between two defenders on the drive and gets to the rim for the score:
Next, Doncic comes off of a Gustavo Ayon screen, gets inside the paint and somehow — again — manages to squeeze himself inside and draws the foul and free throws:
One of the things I didn’t like from Doncic in this game was some of his three-point shot selections.
This first one isn’t too bad, to be fair. Late clock situation and Doncic is basically asked to bail out Madrid after a very poor offensive set but can’t connect on the three:
This next three I’d like to see some offense run before this shot goes up — Doncic ‘dribble-dribble’, tries to create some space against Gigi Datome but the three he launches is contested and misses:
Elsewhere, Doncic’s only turnover of the game occurred in the first quarter as he drives on the switch, drives into the help defender, falls over and loses the ball:
Four assists for Doncic in this game and, as always, there chances created but Doncic was a bit less smooth this game, making a number of blunders/errors.
Things didn’t start well as Doncic checks into the game trailing 12-2 and his first contribution is a turnover as he tries to link with Edy Tavares in a pick-and-roll:
Not long after that, Doncic tried to hook up with Felipe Reyes and commits another turnover as the ball just sails by the hands of Reyes:
In transition, Doncic lifts his pass to Fabien Causeur a little too high for Causeur to handle and it results in a Madrid turnover:
Doncic did eventually get into a groove and set up a number of three-point opportunities.
Heading down the court, Doncic draws the defense as the ball-handler and finds Jeffrey Taylor for a three-point attempt but Taylor is unable to hit:
Another simple play/pass followed as Doncic waits for Rudy Fernandez to come off of the screen for a catch-and-shoot three but Rudy can’t connect:
Heading down the floor again, Doncic spots that Fenerbahce haven’t set up as well as they should and Doncic finds the open Rudy Fernandez in the corner for a three:
A lot later, Doncic picks up the ball following a turnover and finds Anthony Randolph with an outlet pass for the assist:
Not a lot to note here today but what there is to note is pretty good.
Here, Doncic does well to get around the screen to contest the three-pointer but cannot prevent it from going in:
We’ve seen this one already, but Doncic finds himself in position to grab the steal and he heads down the other end for the score:
Finally, Doncic plays some really tight defense on Jan Vesely in the corner and contests the shot, which results in an airball as the shotclock expires:
I lover good vertical defense and this was textbook from Doncic to force a tough shot for a very good player in the EuroLeague in Vesely.
In closing vs Fenerbahce…
An interesting game for Luka Doncic…
Definitely a more offensive game for Doncic than anything else, which is fine since his shooting was efficient overall in this game. In fact, the only shots Doncic missed were three-point attempts — always a good thing.
From a facilitation point of view, Doncic had a rough going of things initially but did eventually get going but his teammates couldn’t always connect on their finds from Doncic.
Defensively, again, nothing huge to note but Doncic has definitely improved on the defensive end throughout the season and this game was a great example of that with a lack of defenive foibles/errors throughout the course of his 28 minutes of action.
Real Madrid got back winning ways after they absolutely smashed rivals Barcelona in their own house 101-74 on February 23rd.
For top NBA prospect Luka Doncic, it was a strange night. Doncic came off the bench sporting a sleeve on his left arm and only played 15 minutes, scoring 2 points, shooting 1-of-7 from the field, 0-of-4 from three, six assists, four rebounds, one turnover and a PIR of just 3.
This won’t be too long but still things to go over as always…
(Apologies for the lacking video quality this week, just how things went…)
A difficult night for Doncic offensively and, again, the three-point shooting wasn’t there.
In the second quarter, Doncic puts on a dribble clinic, eventually steps back and rises into a three but misses:
Very shortly after that, Doncic works himself into the corner with the dribble, floats behind the three-pointer, rises but, again, misses the three-pointer:
Doncic made sure he made up for lost time coming off of the bench and he launched another three-pointer a few minutes after that last one, this time coming in a late clock situation as some good Barcelona defense makes this attempt a tough one for Doncic:
Very good Barcelona defense, actually…
On the wing, Doncic again settles for an outside/bad shot with 15 seconds left on the shotclock:
Doncic struggled to get anything going inside the three-point line.
Here, Doncic weaves his way to the free throw line, rises into a jumper but can’t get the shot to fall:
Even the one shot Doncic made came off of his own miss, tipping in the rebound:
And to sum it up, Doncic drives inside with nowhere to go and ends up turning the ball over and committing the foul:
Here’s where Doncic made his biggest impact of the game, with his apparent injury clearly affecting him offensively.
Here, Doncic feeds Reyes in the post with the deep bounce-pass, and Reyes takes care of the rest:
In transition, Doncic makes this nice outlet pass to Gustavo Ayon (making his long-awaited return) but Ayon is rejected at the rim:
In the second quarter, a bit of a more flashy touch from Doncic as he delivers the flashy bounce-pass to Felipe Reyes in transition for the assist:
Reyes and Doncic hooked up on multiple occasions in this game and did so again in the third quarter as Doncic lifts this pass inside to Reyes who finishes the play with the turnaround J:
One of Doncic’s better plays came in the fourth quarter as he draws a crowd (three defenders) as he pushes in transition and finds Reyes on the move for the layup:
Of course, Reyes wasn’t the only teammate Doncic hooked up with for buckets as he finds Fabien Causeur on the drive and kick for the three-pointer in the weak-side corner:
And for the play of the game, in a ‘welcome back’ kind of moment for Gustavo Ayon, Doncic hooks up with Ayon for the ally-oop:
As soon as Ayon turned, Doncic lifted the oop skywards — great feel/vision for the game to make that play.
Only two things to talk about defensively…
Doncic played this defensive possession well as he shows good defensive activity from full court before committing a bad foul and being subsequently yanked afterwards:
Not a good way to give a team some free throws…
Doncic showed some better defensive play as he did a good job chasing around these screens, getting himself back into the defensive play:
Good defense from Ayon too on the show…
In closing @ Barcelona…
Not a ton to say here…just one of those games for Doncic.
He definitely seemed bothered by his injury but was still able to make things happen when it came to getting others involved with those six assists — Felipe Reyes being the big beneficiary in this game.
Just 15 minutes played, struggling from the field…yeah… There’s nothing to say here for this game.
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.)
After winning last time out against Efes, a major tilt between EuroLeague heavyweights Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow took place in Moscow on February 1st, with CSKA — behind a 33-11 first quarter — winning out in the end 93-87 as Madrid’s fourth quarter comeback ultimately fell short.
For top NBA draft prospect Luka Doncic, it was one of his strongest games since the early stages of the EuroLeague season as he scored 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, shot 2-of-5 from three, 5-of-9 from the line, five rebounds, five assists, three steals, four turnovers and a game-high PIR of 23 in 30 minutes off of the bench.
Obviously a strong outing in this department with those 21 points and Doncic scored his 21 points in a variety of ways, as you might expect.
After a slow start to the game, Doncic finally got on the board as he drives from the three-point line all the way to the rim for the basket:
I liked the very brief fake left before the drive going to his right, think it really helped make this play possible…
We’ll stick to Doncic going to the rim.
Coming off of the screen/flash at the top of the key (hard to tell, given the feed…), Doncic gets a good head of steam heading toward the rim before rising (as the defender continues to back-pedal) and displaying some lovely hang-time as he hits the one-handed runner off of the glass and home:
After Madrid come up with the block on the defensive end, Doncic grabs the ball and sets off in transition, using the euro-step to finish off the offensive move as he scores at the rim:
Beautiful euro-step to beat the defense…
In the fourth quarter, Doncic gets downhill after a screen and gets to rim where he unleashes some of that sneaky athleticism as he dunks the ball and draws the foul:
Though, Doncic would miss the free throw (missing four of them on the night, which is pretty rare for him), it provides a nice segue for free throws that Doncic drew whilst getting to the rim/on the drive.
Off of the dribble, Doncic drives inside, again displays some nice hang-time as he draws the foul at the rim from Will Clyburn, resulting in two free throws:
This clip is also a great example of Doncic struggling somewhat to get by with his pace (doesn’t have that elite burst/quickness) but he has a good frame and is able to fend off the challenge as he drives.
In transition again we see a bit of the flair that Doncic brings as he firstly grabs the rebound, goes behind his back with the ball, gets to the paint and draws the foul and free throws:
Speaking of other ways of scoring in the paint, Doncic operated in the post on a couple of occasions, managing to score on this possession as he backs down — single coverage — spins and beautiful footwork puts Doncic in a great position to score and he does so:
I love how Doncic positioned himself as he spun. Watch it again, and look at his left heel/foot, how it’s positioned when he spins and how it kind of helps seal off the on-ball defender.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Doncic at the rim/on the drive…
In the first quarter, Doncic waves off/rejects the screen from Edy Tavares, tries to get in on his own, is unable to do so and settles for a tough, contested jumpshot which misses:
In this next clip, Doncic is able to get inside this time after a Trey Thompkins screen but takes a difficult, contested shot (off-balance somewhat, unnaturally positioned) at the rim and misses:
After coming up with the steal from a loose dribble, Doncic heads the other way in transition. He gets to the free throw line area, rises, has the ball stripped/deflected on the way up and ends up being clattered into as he tries to recover the ball, leading to a sore landing and a turnover that leads to a CSKA basket:
Again off of the dribble, Doncic is able to get inside and a look at the rim but his floater is short on this occasion:
In the post, Doncic looks to pass out of the post but his pass is a little too long and it results in a turnover:
A bit of a more general play, but Doncic commits the very rare travel turnover in the third quarter:
Finishing off the offensive portion of this breakdown with the three-point shooting for a change as Doncic shot 2-of-5 from three.
Really, this is 2-of-4 from three, as one of those attempts was a half-court heave at the end of the first quarter — it obviously counts, but you know…
In the third quarter, Doncic gets inside, is unable to progress, passes out of the paint, receives the ball again, fakes the three to free up space and then hits the open three:
Later in the quarter, Doncic successfully connects on the catch-and-shoot three, set-up by Jaycee Carroll in transition:
As for his misses, this first one involved Doncic attempting to connect from deep but the shot is off-line:
And, finally, Doncic and Rudy Fernandez work a nice two-man game and it eventually ends with Doncic attempting a three-pointer which misses:
Five assists for Doncic in this one, let’s go through some…
Even though Doncic had issues with his own offense in the first quarter, he was able to link up with Edy Tavares, as the CSKA shows an extra body to Doncic off of the pick-and-roll, leaving Edy more open than he normally would be. Doncic finds Edy with an overhead pass for the assist and the score for Edy at the rim:
We know Doncic is an unselfish player, and he continues to demonstrate that as he turns down a shot he could’ve taken himself to find Jeffrey Taylor, who makes the extra pass to Fabien Causeur for a three-pointer:
In the second quarter, Doncic finds the cutting Jonas Maciulis for another assist at the rim (hey, guess what CSKA Moscow allowed a lot of in this game):
That’s a really nice play and good awareness from Doncic to see the play develop and then execute the play.
One of Doncic’s more impressive plays of the night was this near full-court outlet pass to Anthony Randolph, who scores the quick-break:
More link-up wit Edy, this time in the pick-and-roll the lob is set up and as Edy goes to catch he’s fouled, drawing free throws:
Doncic set up a number of three-point opportunities for his teammates, this one to Trey Thompkins coming late in the game as Doncic collapses the defense after a screen before finding Thompkins for three:
A very simple play, a pass to Rudy Fernandez in the corner for a three-pointer but Rudy is unable to connect:
Nice snap pass to the fair…
And, finally, Doncic probes in the second quarter before setting up Anthony Randolph in the corner for a the long two-point attempt but Randolph can’t convert:
Some pretty good defensive activity in this game from Doncic — definitely more good than bad.
Doncic came up with three steals in this game, and the zone defense of Real Madrid certainly helped with one of these.
Here, Doncic is on-hand to intercept the pass to the wing and comes up with the steal:
Sergio Rodriguez also attempting a no-look pass will also contribute in leading to a turnover…
In a wild sequence Doncic, again, is in the right place at the right time and is able to intercept this pass on the baseline and come up with another steal. He then tries to set up a lob for Anthony Randolph which goes horribly wrong, then tries to stick home the shot at the rim after the pass from Randolph and misses:
We saw this in an earlier clip, but Doncic is able to pick up the loose ball and set off the other way but ended up leading to a turnover:
Here, Doncic allows Othello Hunter to get in front of him but Doncic is able to break up the attempted lob to him, knocking the ball out of his hands and Madrid come up with the ball:
Here, Doncic uses his length to contest the three-pointer which is off-line:
Some more good defensive activity from Doncic as works to get back in front of his man after the screen and using his length to contest and finish the defensive play as the shot misses:
Moving onto some of the defensive foibles from Doncic in this game…we’ll start by blending both good and bad.
Here, Doncic displays some decent defensive activity to stay in front of his man, then switches onto the big underneath the basket but doesn’t complete the defensive play — you’d like to see Doncic contest that shot:
Doncic gets a taste of his own medicine in the post as he’s undone by a spin move by Othello Hunter, which leads to a basket and a foul as Doncic fouls on the way:
And finally, Doncic strayed a little too far from his man and was a little late to close-out and contest this three-point attempt by Nikita Kurbanov, who hits the three in the corner:
Possibly a by-product of the Madrid zone defense…
In closing @ CSKA…
Obviously a strong game for Doncic. He was inserted into the game when Madrid were already up against it (down 15-5 which became 17-5 within the first few seconds he was on the court). This has happened once or twice already this season (Madrid chasing a game in the first quarter before bringing in Doncic), and going forward, Doncic would be inserted into the starting lineup.
For this game, he struggled to get going in the first quarter but eventually got into the swing of things, finding success in getting to the rim/into the paint for scoring opportunities. 5-of-9 from the line is disappointing but it’s about the only thing you can really fault Doncic in this game.
In terms of facilitation, bang on as always from Doncic — you know what you’re getting at this stage. Would’ve liked to have seen a bit more pick-and-roll with Doncic as the ball-handler but alas…
Defensively, a good game from Doncic. A couples of little things that I’m nitpicking at but in general he was solid against what is arguably the best team in Europe (favourites in their upcoming Final Four game against Madrid in Moscow as I write this, that game is on the 18th of May).
That game will have to wait until another time but for now, a strong game by Doncic against one of Europe’s elite.
Real Madrid bounced-back from their first defeat after reeling 7-game win-streak defeat against Baskonia with a big win against Anadolu Efes on January 25th — 87-68.
For top NBA draft prospect Luka Doncic, it was another strong game as he scored 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-3 from behind the arc, 4-of-5 from the free throw line, six rebounds, five assists, one turnover and a PIR of 22 in 23 minutes coming off of the bench.
17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-3 from behind the arc and 4-of-5 from the free throw line — let’s break it down.
We’ll start, as per usual, with Doncic’s three-point shooting…
1-of-3 from three was Doncic, and while he was unable to follow his strong performance from behind the arc against Baskonia, I still love that he took just three attempts and they were fine attempts — he didn’t chuck/settle as he did earlier in the season.
May as well go through them…only three of them anyways.
Doncic’s first three-point attempt came in the first quarter as Doncic comes off an Edy Tavares screen and he springs into a deep three-pointer which is a tad long:
After a block from Edy Tavares, Doncic collects the ball and heads up the court. Doncic gets a screen from Edy, tries to get inside but is cut off by the defense. Doncic tracks back out behind the three-point line, isn’t initially followed, and Doncic has the space to launch a three-pointer but, again, can’t hit:
Doncic’s one three-pointer came in the third quarter as he is found by Rudy Fernandez and then steps-back into a three-pointer on the wing:
As for the rest of Doncic’s offense (in terms of both makes and attempts) in this game, we saw quite a number of different things from Doncic, highlighting his versatility on the offensive end.
In the post, Doncic backs down the smaller Dogus Balbay, the double/help defense lingers, and Doncic spins away from the rim, fades but can’t hit the J:
Doncic would find fortune with that spin and fade in the second quarter as he gets inside the paint to break out that exact combination:
In transition, Doncic gets from his own half all the way to the rim, unleashing the killer euro-step to cap the play off:
In the third quarter, Facundo Campazzo draws the defense and his pass to Jonas Maciulis take Balbay away from Doncic on the perimeter. Jonas finds Doncic, and Doncic — with the defense scrambling somewhat — fakes off of the three-point line to shed one defender, whips out a beautiful, quick left-to-right change of hands to shed another, gets to the free throw line and flips up a floater:
That’s just a gorgeous play.
Coming off of a Felipe Reyes screen, gets to the paint, stops, drops his shoulder and steps through and puts the little floater:
Again, mixing things up, Doncic grabs the offensive rebound, misses from point-blank range before getting another bite at the cherry which he tucks away:
Doncic got to the free throw line of five occasions — a flash from Jonas at the top of key opens up the driving lane for Doncic, who takes it inside and is hammered from behind to prevent the dunk/a certain two points:
Doncic would draw two more free throws after he splits the trap/double and draws the foul at mid-court with Efes in the bonus:
The detail that’s easy to forget when watching Doncic…this kid has just turned 19 years old — incredible.
Five assists for Doncic in this game as he, as per usual, continues to set-up/find teammates in good positions.
Following an Efes miss, Doncic handles the ball coming the other way as the defense sets up. Doncic — and you could see this developing as it happened — leads the defense one way and no-look passes to Fabien Causeur in the corner. Causeur elects to drive inside the paint and feeds the ball behind the three-point line to Jonas, who hits the three-pointer:
Not a direct assist for Doncic, but he got the move started.
Here, Doncic finds Rudy Fernandez coming off of a screen, Rudy then takes a step-back and cans the three-pointer as the first half winds down:
In a similar fashion in the second half, Doncic finds Jaycee Carroll coming off of a screen and he hits the three:
In the third quarter, Doncic grabs the defensive rebound and sets up with Edy. He gets a screen from Edy, who rolls to the rim, and Doncic finds Tavares with a one-handed bounce-pass for the assist:
Again in the pick-and-roll, Doncic gets near to the rim himself, draws the defense and then drops a pass underneath to the rolling Felipe Reyes for the assist in the fourth quarter:
And, finally, Doncic whips a lovely cross-court pass to Dino Radoncic (yep, Dino actually played in this game) who whips out the beautiful reverse layup:
Doncic’s one turnover came in the third quarter, leading his pass to Tavares just a tad too long:
Tavares was not too happy with the contact as he tried to get through to that pass…
After a bit of a poor outing last time out on the defensive end, it was a better defensive game for Doncic — but still had some ups and downs.
It wasn’t a great start to the game on the defensive end for Doncic, showing little resistance in transition in a 2-vs-1 situation:
This has been a somewhat regular occurrence for Doncic in transition — you’d just like to see him fight a bit more in these situations…
In the third quarter, Doncic gets stuck on a screen somewhat and it leads to an open three-pointer for Zoran Dragic, who knocks it down:
In the corner, having just picked up a foul, Doncic is bumped out of the way slightly on the drive by Dragic to the rim but contests the shot and it results in a miss — a mix of good/bad defense:
Moving onto the more positive stuff defensively, Doncic does a good job getting over/hustling to get over screens in the first quarter before finishing the defensive possession with a good contest on the three-point shot:
Doncic showed a similar effort in the fourth quarter, hustling to get back in front of his man after a screen and continued to be disruptive defensively on a switch, intercepting a pass on the sideline but with his own feet out-of-bounds, meaning possession of the ball remained with Efes:
Unlucky, but good defensive activity: showing the ability to be disruptive with his size and length — in general, his defensive instincts are solid.
In closing vs. Efes…
Another good game from Doncic in a nice bounce-back win for Madrid.
Offensively, Doncic did a good job picking his spots and scored/looked to score in a great variety of ways.
Again, Doncic did a good job not settling overly on his three-point shots and, for once, there wasn’t a late-clock situation where Doncic had to try to bail out Madrid with a basket from three.
From a facilitation point of view, a much better game than the previous outing. Five assists and plenty of other opportunities were created for his teammates, but they just couldn’t hit some of those shots.
Defensively, up and down moments but some really decent defensive activity from Doncic — love to see that.
Nice to see Doncic chain strong back-to-back games.
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…
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 itreally 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…
Real Madrid continued their fine form as they made it six wins straight as they exacted revenge on another team that had previously beat them in their first encounter: Khimki Moscow Region. Madrid easily won out in the end, 95-78 on January 12th.
For top prospect Luka Doncic, it was a subdued game: 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field, 0-of-3 from behind the arc, 6-of-6 from the line, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, three turnovers and a PIR of 16 in 22 minutes coming off of the bench.
10 points for Doncic on 2-of-8 shooting, 0-of-3 from three and 6-of-6 from the line.
Let’s start with three-point shooting.
Yes, it was another poor performance, going 0-for-3, but the shots Doncic took from three didn’t come in poorly selected pull-ups with 18 seconds left on the shotclock but shots in late-clock situations — a little more excusable.
As the shotclock winds down, Doncic tries to put on a dribbling clinic, can’t shake the defender and steps back into a three that misses as the clock winds down:
At the end of the first half, Madrid have done a poor job getting into an offensive set and Doncic is given the ball to bail out Madrid again. An Edy Tavares screen creates a switch but Doncic elects to try to shoot over the defender as the shotclock winds down:
You could argue that Doncic settled here and that’d be a fair point — could’ve chosen to drive and instead of settle. The shotclock was still winding down and it was given to Doncic to bail the team out.
And finally, at the end of the third quarter Madrid have the last shot and Doncic opts to settle for a three-pointer that is offline:
Some of these still aren’t great shots but they’re a little more excusable because they’re in late clock situations — and there were only three of them, not five or six. Progress is progress? Sort of?
Elsewhere on the offensive end — for one of his two field goals — Doncic uses the screen, gets a switch, steps back and hits the mid-range J:
For some more of Doncic getting downhill, he rejects the screen, skips to the rim with ease, extends elegantly, uses the glass and scores:
For some of his misses, Doncic tries to get to the rim again (was actually in an earlier part of the game than the last clip) but takes heavy contact from the defender and play continues on, with Doncic wanting a foul call after that contact:
On a drive in the fourth quarter, Doncic pulls up at the free throw line but can’t hit the free throw jumper on this occasion:
And finally, Doncic tries to whip out the fancy with the reverse layup with this left hand after squeezing by the defender but can’t get the layup to drop:
Doncic got to the free throw line on six occasions in this game, mostly because Khimki fouled Doncic while in the bonus.
Here, after a Khimki miss, Doncic manages to split the double/trap at mid-court and draws the foul, sending him to the free throw line:
Four assists and three turnovers for Doncic in this game… Let’s start with some of his assists/chances created.
As Doncic comes up the floor as the Khimki defense tries to get set, he finds Jeffrey Taylor in the corner for a three-point attempt, which Taylor duly dispatches:
In the fourth quarter, Madrid execute a great team move that has Doncic make a run from the baseline, receives the ball from Jaycee Carroll from behind the three-point line, drives to his left and finds Chasson Randle on the wing for a three-pointer:
Doncic and Carroll would link up just moments later, this time Doncic finding Carroll coming off of a screen and Carroll hits the three:
So, quite a number of Doncic’s assists came in three-point makes but he created more opportunities that his teammates missed…
In transition, Doncic sets up Fabien Causeur for a three-point attempt that Causeur misses:
Doncic committed three turnovers in this game and got caught in the air on a number of occasions.
Here was one, as Doncic leaves his feet only to find that there’s not a great option to pass to, tries to force something inside and turns the ball over:
For his other turnovers, here, Doncic has his pass to the corner to Jaycee Carroll deflected and it results in a turnover:
In the fourth quarter, Carroll makes a cut off of the ball from the baseline to the wing. As Doncic makes his pass to Carroll, Malcolm Jenkins gets in front of Carroll, knocks the ball away and sets up Tyler Honeycutt for the basket:
As always, some good and bad things defensively in this game for Doncic.
Here, Doncic displays some good defensive anticipation, sees the play unfold as it’s happening, jumps the passing lane, comes up with the steal and draws the foul:
In the fourth quarter, Madrid commit a turnover through Causeur, and Doncic and Facundo Campazzo are the ones left to try to prevent the transition score. Doncic contests the first shot well, Khimki fluff-up the offensive putback and Doncic knocks the ball away and Madrid escape without conceding:
Let’s move on to some of the defensive shortcomings/happenings Doncic had in this game.
In transition, Doncic doesn’t close out to meet Alexey Schved, who takes the opportunity to pull up for an uncontested three-pointer:
Doncic was the unfortunate victim of Tyler Honeycutt going absolutely berserk in the fourth quarter from beyond the arc, despite some good contests by Doncic.
From the corner, Doncic hoists a good contest but Honeycutt still hits the three:
Again, Doncic was right there with his contest but Honeycutt still hits the three:
In closing @ Khimki…
Thankfully for Madrid, this was a game that didn’t require Doncic’s offense to win the game. By the time Doncic checked in at the end of the third quarter, the game was basically over — the bulk of Doncic’s scoring was done in the first half anyways.
He didn’t take a ton of shots and though he missed all three of his three-pointers, they were at least a little more justifiable since the clock was running a low.
We didn’t see a ton of Doncic-Tavares pick-and-roll in this game and Doncic looked quite passive off of the ball at times — he wasn’t involved an enormous amount in the offense in his stint in the second half. Instead, Doncic set up a number of opportunities from behind the arc.
Defensively, Doncic played pretty well but was torched by Honeycutt late on which, as we’ve looked at, there wasn’t really much more he could’ve done — he contested those shots pretty well. When you’re hot, you’re hot.
A solid game from Doncic, all things considered in another victory for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid notched their fifth straight win as they exacted revenge on Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv on January 5th, 93-81.
For top NBA draft prospect Luka Doncic, it was a mixed game: 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-5 from three, 4-of-6 from the free throw line, three rebounds, four assists, two steals, three turnovers and a PIR of 12 in just 20 minutes coming off of the bench.
Not the greatest offensive game in terms of scoring for Doncic: 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-5 from three and 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
Let’s start with the, again, disappointing three-point shooting.
To be fair, it’s really 1-of-4 from three as Doncic attempted a full court heave at the end of the first half which, you know, isn’t a shot taken in normal circumstances.
Outside of that, it was the usual attempt or two in late clock situations, such as this possession where the ball finds its way to Doncic behind the three-point line after a block and Doncic has to rush it up as the clock winds down:
In the fourth quarter, again, late clock situation, and Doncic is asked to bail Madrid out as their offense gets stuck but Doncic is unable to make something out of nothing as he misses the deep three:
Again, late clock — not for a three-pointer this time (just illustrate how many of these shots are coming in bad situations) — but Doncic is asked to make something happen and his contested two-pointer is missed, following a good contest by Tel Aviv:
Those are shots that Doncic can only do so much with in late clock situations where Madrid go ‘Here, Luka, bail us out.’ Doncic does settle somewhat in these situations but there’s not a lot he can really do.
The shots that Doncic himself can improve on are these type of shots where it’s a deep shot with some sort of contest that affects the shot:
It was open but it was fairly deep at the same time and Doncic has not been making these shots of late — perhaps those need to be dialled in.
As for the one three Doncic did make… He runs off of a screen, hesitates when he does receive the ball — allowing the defender to get back in front of him in position to contest — but eventually rises and uses his superior size to hit the three over the defender:
Elsewhere on the offensive end, Doncic struggled hit much else.
Here, Doncic tries to turn the corner off of the pick-and-roll but Tel Aviv throw bodies at Doncic, making progression difficult. Doncic eventually steps into a runner but it’s blocked and Tel Aviv gathers the rebound:
As for some of Doncic’s makes, he had this nice play where he took the ball nearly full court, pulled up just after the free throw line and hits the runner:
Not the best bit of defending, it must be said…
Coming off of an Edy Tavares screen, Doncic gets inside but is cut off by the defense. Doncic — on the move — rises, displays nice hang time and hits the runner:
Doncic got to the free throw line on six occasions in this game, and a good chunk of these came when fouls were committed by Tel Aviv when Madrid were in the bonus.
Not a good foul but there were two of Doncic’s six free throw attempts right there.
Four assists for Doncic in this game… Doncic hooked up with Edy Tavares on a number of occasions in the pick-and-roll.
Here, Edy does a nice job slipping the screen at the last second, spins to the rim and Doncic finds him for the dunk:
In the fourth quarter, Doncic connects with Edy with a lovely one-handed lob pass for the oop:
That pass is a thing of beauty…so elegant looking.
On the next offensive possession for Madrid, Tel Aviv show off of the Doncic-Tavares pick-and-roll and Doncic, again, finds Tavares with a one-handed pass inside, and Edy finishes with a dunk:
It wasn’t all roses when it came to Doncic and Tavares though. They attempt to link up in the third quarter but Doncic has the ball stripped and it leads to a turnover:
Tel Aviv didn’t try show as aggressively on pick-and-rolls involving Doncic as they did in their first meeting but they did so on a few occasions in this game, this being one of them in the second quarter as Doncic tries to make a pass inside and commits the turnover:
Doncic’s third turnover came in showtime gone wrong as he raises this lob too high for Jeffrey Taylor:
We don’t see much showboating from Doncic but on this occasion when showtime came out it went wrong.
As per usual, there were ups and downs for Doncic on the defensive end.
We’ll start with the downs…
On this possession, Doncic was a little eager to bite on a potential shot and then elects not to contest the shot as it goes up:
Luckily for Doncic, the shot is no good on this occasion.
On this defensive possession, Doncic is a little indecisive when it comes to shading over defensively, moving away at the last second, and it leads to a Tel Aviv score:
In the second quarter, DeAndre Kane is able to skip by Doncic with ease off of the dribble and score at the rim:
These weren’t major defensive foibles but noteworthy nevertheless…
Moving onto the more positive defensive stuff, Doncic busts out the nice hustle to save the ball from going out of bounds and Felipe Reyes is on hand to score on the other end:
After committing a turnover in the third quarter, Doncic doesn’t give up on the play in transition and comes up with this block, only to see another Tel Aviv player follow it home, undoing Doncic’s good work:
Doncic hurt his hand during this play and would have it looked at later on but did continue to play.
In closing vs. Tel Aviv
An up-and-down game for Doncic.
Thankfully for Madrid, they didn’t need a 20 point, eight assist game from Doncic as they were able to pull out a win that definitely more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
Doncic struggled from the field and from three but, as always, showed he has other ways of being involved in a game.
With regards to passing/playmaking, he did what he could but Doncic definitely seemed to be planted more off-ball in this game than previous games.
Defensively, up and down as usual but in general Doncic was fine. Nothing major to really speak about.
For Luka Doncic it might have been a so-and-so game for his high standards (can’t be 20-7-6 every game) but still a solid contribution as Madrid continue to roll.
Real Madrid notched their third straight win as they knocked off of the defending EuroLeague champions, Fenerbahce in Istanbul, 79-77 on December 28th.
Top NBA draft prospect Luka Doncic flirted with a triple-double: 20 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in 30 minutes.
20 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-7 from three and 11-of-12 from the free throw line for Doncic in this game.
We’ll start again with the three-point shooting and, again, another poor shooting night from three for Doncic.
Doncic’s shot selection from three hasn’t been great of late. Even in situations where the clock is winding down, the shot selection isn’t good.
After a pick-and-roll with Edy Tavares fails to open anything up for Doncic, he sizes up James Nunnally and settles for a contested three which misses:
With a bit more time on the clock this time, Doncic, again, settles for a shot just isn’t great:
Again on a switch — this time vs. Gigi Datome — Doncic goes to his patented step-back shot but, again, it’s a settled shot and Datome moves and contests well, and the shot misses:
Again, he tries to go one-on-one on a switch with Jan Vesely as the clock winds down but, again, the shot is no good (and he knew it straightaway):
Not all of Doncic’s one-on-one stuff was bad. Here, he pulls up one-on-one and hits the mid-range J:
Despite the make, still an awful lot of dribbling on this possession. If this had missed, it would’ve been seen as a terrible possession (maybe it is already).
There were some three-point attempts that were good shot, they just didn’t go down — like this possession where the Madrid ball movement is crisp but the shot from Doncic at the end of it is just off:
Moving onto to some of Doncic’s makes, he manages to get from basically his own rim to the opposing rim without a lot of resistance:
Nice flash by Jonas Maciulis to take Gigi Datome away, opening up a path for Doncic to drive to the rim. Nice little step inside to open up a much better shot for himself.
On this possession in the second half, Doncic puts on a bit of a dribbling clinic, almost breaking the ankles of Kostas Sloukas before stepping back and hitting the jumper:
And, finally, the three-pointer Doncic did actually hit, in a somewhat of a scramble situation:
Even though he hit this three, it was still a bad shot — it was deep and contested. The fact it went in doesn’t mean it was a good shot, more so a tough shot.
10 assists for Doncic in this game and that has as much to do with Doncic’s teammates making shots consistently than Doncic putting his teammates in those situations — both deserve their fair share of credit for that.
With Doncic inbounding the ball out-of-bounds, he finds Jaycee Carroll who hits the leaning three-pointer:
A simple for pass for Doncic to make as Carroll is freed up by the Reyes screen. Tough shot made by Carroll.
Again coming out of bounds, Doncic finds Carroll — again, coming off of a Reyes screen — who takes a step inside and loops home a floater:
Again, that’s a very nice shot made by Carroll there.
Doncic also did a good job creating opportunities for others out of the pick-and-roll.
On this possession, he links up with Reyes for a screen and roll, Reyes slips the screen instead, Doncic finds Reyes down the pipe and Reyes makes a tough basket:
That’s a tough basket made by Reyes there. These shots from Doncic’s teammates haven’t always gone in but they did in this game — everyone seemed to be in rhythm in the first half and that’s where most of Doncic’s assists came.
Off of a pick-and-roll with Edy Tavares, Doncic drives hard to his right — collapsing the defense in the process — and then finds Edy for the dunk:
The opportunity for Doncic to drive inside was really opened up by the down screen made by Maciulis, and Doncic does the rest from there.
Doncic connected with Trey Thompkins on a number of occasions, here was one of them as he finds Thompkins for three after the screen and fade:
A good way to end the first half.
Doncic hooked up with Thompkins again in the second half, weighing this pass up perfectly as Thompkins slips the screen and establishes position:
Not the easiest pass to make over the defense but good jobs by both Doncic and Thompkins to link up for this basket.
As always, it seems, some good moments and bad moments defensively from Doncic.
It wasn’t the greatest start though, as Doncic is kind of no where on this defensive sequence, just kind of stands and watches as Fenerbahce get a shot up:
It didn’t result in a score for Fenerbahce but it was not great defense from Doncic.
Later in the second quarter, Doncic is caught ball-watching while his man cuts backdoor and makes a layup after receiving the pass:
These lapses in concentration aren’t frequent with Doncic but can happen every now and then.
In the late exchanges in the fourth quarter, Doncic has position established on him in the deep post and is scored on:
For all that Doncic struggled defensively — which really wasn’t much — there were positives.
On this possession, Doncic busts a gut and gets around the various screens that Fenerbahce try to impede him with and contests the shot well and results in a miss:
In the second quarter, Doncic initially gets caught up on a screen but recovers well to contest the shot:
In the fourth quarter, Doncic looked as though me might be in trouble in the post but he reaches around and pokes the ball free, resulting in a steal:
In closing @ Fenerbahce…
An excellent game from Doncic, his PIR of 37 reflects fairly his impact on this game.
But again, offensively, you’d like to see him dial back those three-point attempts — 1-of-7 in this one and 2-of-13 in his last two games. Doncic does just settle at times, even if the clock is nearing zero: there’s usually a better shot to be worked if it’s actually worked — it just isn’t always worked.
I said a few games ago that Doncic would’ve had 10 assists if his teammates had just hit some more of those good looks Doncic had created — this was that game. His teammates were knocking down shots consistently off of his feeds — especially in the first half.
Defensively, he was worked at times and that’s to be expected by one of the better opponents in EuroLeague but, as always, there were some good moments too.
Playing well and coming out against a very good team with a win can only bolster Doncic’s draft stock…
After losing their previous two games, Olympiacos made it three straight defeats for Real Madrid, topping the Spanish side in overtime 92-83 on December 8th in Greece.
For NBA prospect Luka Doncic, he enjoyed his highest scoring total of the EuroLeague season so far, scoring 33 points on 12-of-21 shooting, 4-of-9 from three, 5-of-7 from the free throw line, six rebounds, four assists, one turnover and a PIR of 36 in 38 minutes.
A monstrous 33 points for Doncic… What stands out instantly is the efficiency: 12-of-21 from the field and 4-of-9 from three.
One thing that Doncic went to often in this game was the ‘up-and-under’ move, and it was something that worked to great effect:
A nice fake to bait the defender off of his feet.
Again, he uses a similar move in the fourth quarter, after coming off of an Edy Tavares screen, only this time the shot he has to make is a lot tougher:
That’s a tough basket, great shot…
It wasn’t the only tough leaner that Doncic hit, check the one-legged leaner in the first half:
I love how Doncic, once he comes off the screen, has the defender at his hip and then backs into the defender before this shot.
Doncic got to the rim on a number of occasions in this game.
After Olympiacos made some free throws, Doncic literally traverses up the sideline and gets all the way to the rim plus draws the foul:
Doncic shouldn’t really been allowed to get all the way to the rim from where he started but, alas…
In crunch time, coming off of the screen, Doncic skips to the rim, finishing in style with a sweet side-step:
Doncic made four three-pointers in this game, with the majority of his nine three-point attempts being good shots.
After some nice ball-movement (started by Doncic) the ball finds its way back to Doncic and he hits the three:
As one of the first acts of the second half, Doncic rejects the screen, goes to his left and sidesteps his way into a three:
In overtime, Doncic hits this deep three to put Madrid back in front in overtime:
Doncic is a player that can be iso-heavy at times, and sometimes these iso-like possessions just don’t go well.
Here, Doncic tries to size up the defender, tries to beat him one-on-one but his up-and-under is short and Olympiacos claim the rebound:
Doncic did have this isolation possession (on a switch) and gets to the rim at the end of the clock — though, helped by a defensive slip, literally — and draws the foul and free throws:
Sometimes these iso/one-on-one possessions come off but it seems, more so than not, they don’t. Granted, there weren’t as many of these type of possessions in this game as games past…
Four assists for Doncic in this game and, as usual, many more opportunities created.
The transition game was, again, an area that Doncic excelled at finding the right man.
Off of a block, Doncic does a good job saving the ball and heads up the court after the save. He receives the ball, puts pressure on the rim, draws a crowd and finds Taylor in the corner. Unfortunately, Taylor couldn’t gather the pass cleanly and the opportunity for Taylor is gone:
Off of two made free throws, Doncic pushes again in transition as the second quarter comes to an end. He finds Jaycee Carroll behind the arc, and Carroll converts the three to beat the buzzer:
Again in transition, Doncic plays his part in moving the ball onward to find Jaycee Carroll, again for three:
That’s just a great team play to make this basket possible.
We didn’t see a lot of Doncic pick-and-roll action that led to baskets, but there was this one in overtime, as Doncic finds Reyes after the pick-and-roll, with Olympiacos wanting a foul call as Reyes got tangled up:
Off of a screen with Trey Thompkins, Thompkins fades behind the three-point line. Doncic finds him, but Thompkins can’t hit the shot:
Defensively, it was all going so well for Doncic…
Here, Doncic plays some really solid defense on the wing — moving his feet well and not allowing but it was just a case of ‘good D, better O’:
In the post — somewhere where Doncic has struggled defensively at times — Doncic holds his ground and forces the pass:
Doncic was, at times disruptive defensively.
Here (and this nothing big by any means but still noteworthy), Doncic gets his hand in there and deflects a pass:
Again, this isn’t anything big but it’s something…
In the fourth quarter, Doncic helps extend the defensive pressure right at halfcourt, almost resulting in a turnover:
It was going so well until overtime, that is…
Overtime was where Doncic’s defense was exploited.
On this possession, Doncic is beaten by the spin move in the post for the score:
This was a very nice offensive move, it must be said — the spin and sweeping left-hook…
As OT drew to a close, Doncic bites on this pump-fake, leading to a basket:
And to cap it off, Doncic doesn’t stick close enough to his man and the end result is a dunk that adds the exclamation point for Olympiacos:
It was a shame that Doncic was at the fore/part of some major defensive plays in overtime, the game was having prior to that was excellent.
In closing @ Olympiacos…
A huge effort from Doncic in this game on both sides of the floor.
Offensively, he took charge with his 33 points and did so efficiently, also doing so without ball-hogging or hero-ball but moving the ball and getting others involved.
38 minutes — even in an overtime game — is an awful lot and, not for the first time, Doncic played the entire second half.
Defensively, in regulation it was good. He was active and, at times, disruptive. But in overtime that came crashing down, which was unfortunate because it doesn’t reflect his defense across the entire game.
Real Madrid have lost a number of close games this season and, sadly, this is another to add to the list…but not by the lack of effort from Luka Doncic…
After a quick return to winning ways was doused by Panathinaikos last time out, it was another narrow defeat for Real Madrid at home against Belgrade on December 1st.
For Luka Doncic, it was a much better outing this time around with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 2-of-5 from three, 4-of-4 from the free throw line, three rebounds, five assists, two turnovers and a PIR rating of 32 in 29 minutes coming off of the bench.
A much better game offensively for Doncic with better shot selection and much better efficiency — 20 points, 7-of-11 shooting and 2-of-5 from three.
Doncic’s three-point shooting was much better in this game: the attempts were reigned in and they were just better looking/higher quality shots.
In the first quarter, Doncic moves off of the ball to the left-wing, gets free thanks to a screen across the lane, receives the ball and goes right then goes to his left (using the momentum of the trailing defender to Doncic’s advantage) and rises into the three-pointer:
In transition, Doncic trails the play — with Rudy Fernandez handling — and springs into the play as the trailer and hits the three off of the pass from Rudy:
Again, just five three-point attempts — I think that’s a really good thing, and one of those attempts was a heave inside his own half at the end of the first quarter so, really, you could say he shot 2-of-4 from three.
There were some nice variety to Doncic’s scoring in this game.
Here, he makes the run off-ball (his defender completely losing him), goes behind the Felipe Reyes screen and steps in for the easy J:
Off of a miss, Doncic steams in transition and finds himself well down the court before the ball is, having contested a three-point and had began to set off down the court in the event of a miss. As he streaks, the ball is outletted to him and he goes up and dunks it home:
People knock Doncic because they say he’s ‘unathletic’ when that isn’t the case. He’s not explosive by any means but he’s definitely not unathletic. He’s sneakily athletic and because other parts of his game are much more refined than other prospects his age, he doesn’t have to rely on it or go to it the whole time like others have to.
Continuing the trend of offensive variety, Doncic mixes it up on the glass, gets in front of the defender and draws the foul and free throws:
Off of the drive, Doncic pulls up on a dime and hits free throw line J, despite the late contest of the help defender:
Doncic didn’t dip into his post game until the fourth quarter, using it to draw the foul and get to the free throw line here:
Five assists and just two turnovers for Doncic in this game: a much more controlled game (in all aspects really, not just when it came to playmaking).
Unlike Panathinaikos, Belgrade didn’t throw bodies at Doncic at every opportunity, really only doing so once off of the pick-and-roll. When it happened, the pass Doncic threw inside was a little risky but ended up working out for the assist:
Again, a little risky but it got there in the end…
Elsewhere when it comes to playmaking, Doncic, again working the transition game as he often does, finds Chasson Randle on the wing for three:
In the third quarter, Doncic fires (what is effectively…) a half court pass to Fabien Causeur, who finds Edy Tavares for the basket:
That’s a sweet pass, perfectly weighted.
There was one turnover, however, that had a massive bearing on this outcome of this game…
Down one point with 36+ seconds remaining in the game with possession of the ball. Doncic tries to take Pero Antic off of the dribble but Antic does a great job to stick with him. Doncic kills his dribble and — it’s hard to tell — he either loses the ball or the attempted pass is caught… Either way, the result is a turnover and Belgrade go the other way and Pero Antic scores the final and decisive bucket to end any hopes of a Madrid victory:
Again, not sure if it was a pass or not but just a horrible time for a turnover to occur. Big shot by Antic though…
If it was a pass, I really like how Doncic looked to pass in that situation with the game and clock are finely strung as they were. Hard to tell, though…
Some really solid stuff from Doncic defensively. Nothing ground breaking or elite but just solid.
He had some good contests:
In previous insalments, we’ve looked at a number of instances where Doncic just doesn’t contest a shot but there was none of that here.
In the past, Doncic hasn’t always been a willing help defender, often watching as the play develops on the defensive end. Here though, he makes the effort to come over and challenge this dunk at the rim:
Even if his contest/help was late and didn’t ultimately affect the shot, he still saw the danger and went to go do something about it.
And, again, more solid stuff defensively as Doncic does a good job moving his feet and prevents the offensive player from penetrating:
Again, this is nothing groundbreaking but it’s just solid.
In closing vs. Belgrade…
Just a much better game from Doncic, probably in every single facet.
Offensively, he was in control. He selected better shots, rhythm shots, picked his spots a lot wiser… The fact he wasn’t faced with intense defensive pressure every two seconds as he was against Panathinaikos really helped him just flow in this game.
A nice variety in offense: mid-range, perimeter, free throws, transition…the usual that we’ve come to expect of Doncic. Not as much pick-and-roll action in this game compared to previous games. There is still no Gustavo Ayon (Madrid really suffer when he’s not around) and we didn’t see as much of Edy Tavares in this game. We know Doncic likes to operate the pick-and-roll but wasn’t much there this game.
Not a whole lot different when it comes to playmaking: looking for others and putting them in positions where they have a chance to succeed. The end-game turnover was unfortunate, however…
And defensively, look, nothing amazing and world-beating but he was definitely a positive defensively in this game — no one looked to really attack him often and when he was, Doncic was up to the task.
Real Madrid returned to winning ways last time out but found themselves back on the losing end as they narrowly fell to Panathinaikos in Athens, Greece 82-80.
For NBA draft prospect Luka Dončić, it was a tough affair: 19 points on 5-of-14 shooting, 3-of-9 from three, 6-of-8 from the free throw line, six rebounds, three assists, eight turnovers, a block and a PIR rating of 14 in 31 minutes.
It was a tough game for Dončić offensively. Yes, he scored 19 points but only shot 5-of-14 from the field and 3-of-9 from three — the six free throws helped boost the point total here.
It’s worth immediately pointing out that Dončić was targeted from the get-go: the Panathinaikos defense pounced on him from the start, showing off of the pick-and-rolls and extending the defensive pressure, and it leads to a turnover and score on this occasion:
This was a common theme for Dončić, and it forced him to get rid of the ball and defer to others:
Off of the show, Dončić this time tries to the decisive pass inside but has it intercepted and it leads to a turnover:
In general, Dončić settled quite a bit in this game and took the easy way out, by which I mean he tried to go one-on-one a lot instead of setting up/deferring when nothing was on for him.
He took a whopping nine three-pointers, making just three of them. Again, some of these just weren’t great looks:
With 12/13 seconds left on the shotclock, there’s just a better shot to be had here.
Off of a pick-and-roll, Dončić gets the switch but when the defender sticks with him, a different approach should be taken than settling for a contested three:
Far too often did Dončić try to do too much on his own.
On this possession, just far too much ball-handling by Dončić — the ball should’ve left his hands a long time ago on this possession. Instead, it results in a turnover:
Just a terrible possession.
A lot of credit has to go to the Panathinaikos defense: they made things very difficult for Madrid and Dončić, forcing them into a number of late clock shots, including this three-pointer from Dončić on one leg, which he actually made:
That’s a big-time shot at a hugely important time of the game, but it sure wasn’t a high-quality shot.
There were a few positives…
I liked this little shake to shed the defender off-ball to free up a little more space for a (still contested) three-pointer:
Again, nice movement off of the ball keeps the defender guessing.
There was also a nice possession where Dončić comes up with a block and then goes coast-to-coast and finishes with the runner:
Really liked how Dončić hesitates slightly, allowing the defender to sail on by, and reverting to a running floater for the shot selection — eliminates the possibility of being blocked/contested at the rim by a help defender (and there was definitely a second defender waiting near the rim).
It was a tough game in this aspect too for Dončić — just three assists and eight turnovers (though, not all eight of those came in facilitation scenarios).
His decision-making once shown the defensive pressure by Panathinaikos wasn’t always great but there were some good moments that came out of it.
Here for instance, Dončić fires a lovely pass down the pipe for Edy Tavares for the score:
Alas, that was really the only main, concrete thing to come out of the defensive pressure forcing Dončić to looks elsewhere. Sure, there was an attempt or two but nothing that went in:
Dončić was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball in this one, just not something you normally see him do:
Just caught in the wrong spots:
It just seemed no matter what he tried, it just didn’t work out, as this entry-pass sails out-of-bounds:
It does take two to tango on plays like this but kind of summed up Dončić’s day, really. There were a few possessions where Dončić moved the ball well as a facilitator and looked for others but, as we’ve touched on already, he didn’t make the best decisions in this game…
Honestly, there was literally nothing noteworthy to come out of this game defensively for Dončić. He wasn’t really asked to do much defensively one-on-one or otherwise.
There was this one play where his presence forces a penetrator to have to pass the ball back out, but it’s more so because the help defense comes in the form of Tavares:
Even this is a reach… It was strange how little was asked of Dončić defensively. Panathinaikos attacked a lot through their guards, like Nick Calathes
In closing @ Panathinaikos…
Just a tough game in all aspects really… Probably Dončić’s worst game of the season so far, and I say that because when he struggled shooting from the field in other games he at least impacted the game majorly in other ways, mostly with his playmaking but that didn’t really shine through here.
Dončić was seemingly a little out of sorts, didn’t look like himself and made uncharacteristic mistakes. His shot selection wasn’t great and he could’ve done more to get his teammates involved. But a lot of credit to Panathinaikos for that, they made sure — right from the off — that things were not easy for Dončić and they were successful in setting that tone.
Dončić tried a little too hard at times and made some errors in the fourth as Madrid kind of capitulated and let a game slip by that they should’ve won.
After picking up a third straight loss last time out (losing by 30 points to Baskonia), Real Madrid responded with a big win at home against Malaga on November 16th, 89-57.
For top NBA prospect Luka Dončić, the boxscore won’t ‘wow’ you (13 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, 0-of-2 from three, 1-of-1 from the line, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal, three turnovers, two blocks and a PIR of 28 in 25 minutes) but his performance was great and was comfortably superior than everyone else on the floor and that isn’t representative in the numbers. The 28 PIR helps slightly in that regard.
Prior to the game, Dončić was presented with the EuroLeague MVP award for the month October:
Dončić also returned to the starting lineup having come off the bench in the previous game against Baskonia, (more than likely due the fact Madrid’s schedule was pretty loaded) and Dončić relished the opportunity to play again quickly.
“…I am young – I like to play games,” said Dončić. “Three games per week is a pleasure for me.”
Also worth noting that, given the absolute blowout nature of this game, that Dončić did not feature at all in the fourth quarter with the game well and truly wrapped up.
13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 1-of-1 from the free throw line and 0-of-2 from three for Dončić.
Let’s start, as we always do, with three-point shooting.
Just two three-point attempts for Dončić in this game, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing — reeling in some of those attempts. I don’t really care that Dončić missed the two threes he took, I just like him reeling in the attempts — 4-of-14 from three in his last two games before this (going 2-of-7 twice).
Anyways, let’s look at them (may as well, since there were only two of them).
Here, Dončić goes behind the Edy Tavares screen (who does a good job to create the separation) and steps back into a three which is a little long:
A good quality shot that was a little off on this occasion.
The other three he took was in a late-clock situation, which forced Dončić to take a deep attempt as the clock wound down:
We’ve seen Dončić knock down threes from this range but with the defense in close proximity, it was going to be a tougher ask…
Sticking with the jumpshot, Dončić didn’t really take a lot of them in this game. I counted only two (not including three-pointers. Here was the one he hit, going to his left and stepping-back for the contested two near the end of the shotclock:
Looking at this play, this was harder than it should’ve been. You can see Jonas Paciulis (number 8) point to the spot Edy Tavares is supposed to be setting a screen (I believe in some form of a double-drag screen?) but Tavares sets the screen on the right side of his man, as if Dončić was going to use it going to his right. Instead, he goes to the left and Tavares’ efforts are wasted as the player guarding Dončić just goes with him and he’s able to hoist a decent contest.
Moving away from jumpshots, Dončić had a lot of success getting to/near the rim in this game.
Off of a pick-and-roll, Rudy Fernandez collapses the defense and Dončić’s defender, Mo Saluade, goes to help. One of the defenders in the pick-and-roll, Adam Wacyznksi, does a decent job running out to Dončić to prevent an open shot. Dončić, however, uses this to his advantage and quickly goes to his left after the catch — wrong-footing the defender — and he drives all the way to the rim:
Pretty poor defense after Dončić began his drive, it must be said…
After an offensive rebound, the ball finds its way to Dončić on the perimeter. Dončić initially goes to his left before going through his legs and changing directions and he glides to the rim for the score:
Liked the little adjustment going to the right to avoid the defender in the lane…
Near the end of the shotclock, Dončić easily gets by Dragan Milosavljević with the dribble and displays some great hang-time and hits the tough runner for the score:
This wasn’t the only runner that Dončić got to fall. Here, Dončić splits the defenders (more so walks through them, not a lot of resistance) and banks the runner home:
Again, not a lot of defensive resistance here…
And, lastly, for getting to the rim, Dončić drives strongly off of the catch and gets to the rim for the hoop and the harm — and-1:
Two aspects of Dončić’s offense (in terms of scoring) that we didn’t really see in this game were the transition game and post.
And we did see them, we saw the two blend in one possession.
Off of a miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and sets off in transition. He is cut off near the baseline by Wacyznksi. Dončić then sets up and tries to back Wacyznksi in the post but to no avail, and is eventually forced to pass out:
Good defense from Wacyznksi, Dončić probably spent a little too long attempting to make something happen…
Six assists from Dončić in this game but that number could’ve been so much higher — he had that much of an imprint on this game from a facilitation point of view.
Dončić didn’t create much for himself in transition but he created opportunities for others in transition often. So let’s start there by looking at a few.
Off of a miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and sets off. He gets to the three-point line and feeds a pass down the pipe to Felipe Reyes, but Reyes has the ball stripped off of him and it sails out-of-bounds:
A good defensive play by Malaga here on what was sure to be a certain basket.
Off of another miss, Madrid grab the rebound and the ball finds its way to Dončić. As he gets to the three-point line, he looks in the direction of the streaking Maciulis but fires the no-look pass to the corner where Fabien Causeur is there to hit the catch-and-shoot three:
Beautiful play, great lead and misdirection with the no-look pass.
Off of another Malaga miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and sets off. Along with him is Edy Tavares and Dončić links up with him with a behind-the-back pass for the assist:
We’ll look at facilitation out of the pick-and-roll next.
Off of the show on the pick-and-roll, Dončić threads a nice bounce-pass to Trey Thompkins, who makes the secondary pass to Felipe Reyes for the easy basket:
Solid pass and good team ball movement leading to a basket.
Next, Dončić and Reyes link up for a pick-and-roll but it turns out to be a flare screen to open up a shot for Rudy Fernandez, and Dončić finds him with an overhead pass for the assist for three:
Dončić had a lot of success driving the ball not only to score himself but to create opportunities for others.
Here, a nice fake, drive inside and perfectly timed pass to Thompkins inside for the assist:
At the end of the first quarter, the catch, drive and kick-out to Thompkins again for a three-point attempt but it’s just off:
One of the things I really enjoy about Dončić is that he’s not a selfish player.
Here, he gives up a three-pointer that he could’ve easily jacked up himself to find Jeffrey Taylor in the corner for a three-point attempt:
It’s a miss but love the unselfishness.
Some other miscellaneous plays, here’s a nice bounce-pass from Dončić to a cutting Taylor for a big dunk:
Later in the third quarter, Dončić fires a nice baseball pass inside to Reyes, who finds Jaycee Carroll in the corner for three:
Great pass inside by Dončić and general ball movement.
It wasn’t all perfect though.
Dončić had three turnovers in this game — he got a little too fancy at times in this game and sometimes this resulted in passes that either turned-over or were difficult for teammates to handle.
Here’s an example… In transition, Dončić gets a little too fancy with a behind-the-back pass to Jeffrey Taylor, who has to work to control the pass and has to pass it off:
Not a lot to talk about here: Dončić really wasn’t tested much in this game at all.
As is the norm it seems, there are good and bad moments from Dončić defensively. Let’s start with the good.
Thought he moved pretty well on this defensive sequence:
Dončić also came up with two blocks in this game, here was one to end the first half:
Moving onto the ‘not-so-good’ stuff…
You’d like to see a little more effort here in transition off of a turnover:
That play was not lost at the rim but Dončić kind of just gave up. Incredible miss…
Again, you’d like to see a little more resistance, coming off of another team turnover in this possession:
Just like to see a little more effort and a little more resistance…
Of course, we had the seemingly gamely staple where Dončić just doesn’t contest a shot:
Wouldn’t be a Dončić game without that…
In closing vs. Malaga…
The boxscore won’t wow you (he didn’t need to score 24 in this game, the game was just that comfortable) but it was a dominating display by Dončić offensively. He picked his spots well and got others involved, waiting until the third quarter to do the majority of his own scoring. Great success off of the penetration, easily getting to the rim time after time.
Constantly moved the ball and got others involved. It’d be easy for someone as good as Dončić is to try to takeover and freeze out his teammates but he just doesn’t: selfless player.
Defensively, nothing massive that would’ve cost his team the game but obviously a few things to work on.
After suffering two defeats in a row, things didn’t get any better for Real Madrid as they were thrashed by 30 points (105-75) against Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz in Vitoria, Spain on November 14th.
For top prospect Luka Dončić it was a better outing than the previous game as he scored 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 2-of-7 from three, 6-of-6 from the free throw line, four assists, two rebounds, one turnover and a PIR of 19 in just 22 minutes of action.
Dončić was limited in this game in two regards. One was that he came off the bench in this game having started every other game bar the EuroLeague opener against Efes. The other was that given the blowout nature of the game, Dončić appeared very briefly in the beginning of the fourth quarter and that was it. As a result, he played just 22 minutes. In a close game, he’s playing nearly 27-28 minutes.
He has had better nights offensively but still not too shabby of a performance from Dončić: 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, 2-of-7 from three and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
Let’s start with three-point shooting…
2-of-7 isn’t fantastic but you can instantly discount one of those: a halfcourt heave that was taken at the end of the first quarter. So, really, it’s 2-of-6, which is a bit better…
Let’s look at a few of these, shall we?
In transition, Dončić is found behind the three-point line. He waits for the defense to close out on him before driving inside. Dončić fires a pass back out behind the three-point line before fading behind the three-point line on the weak-side himself. While he does that, the ball is worked to Anthony Randolph in the corner and Randolph backs his man down in the post. Dončić finds himself open and is found by Randolph on the perimeter. Dončić has to adjust (the pass a little to his right) and bring the ball across him but still hits the three-pointer:
Stroke is looking fine on that shot…
Here, a very difficult shot… Edy Tavares’ screen doesn’t really make great contact with Jordan McRae and doesn’t give Dončić the separation he needs. Dončić sizes up McRae somewhat, goes right-to-left with the dribble before rising and hitting the contested three-pointer:
Tough shot there, good defense from McRae — not much more you can do defensively there.
Let’s look at a few of these misses…
In the pick-and-roll, Dončić goes to his right and hops into a three-pointer but the shot is off:
Not a bad shot, to be fair. The man originally defending Dončić off of the screen actually left him just as Dončić rises for the shot — it just didn’t go down.
Here we see Dončić in a catch-and-shoot situation, but can’t connect from outside:
And when things got bad:
2-of-7 from three isn’t great, at the end of the day and these less than ideal percentages from three that we’ve seen from Luka of late are a tad concerning…
We saw Dončić, as he often has in prior games, go to his post game and he went to it again in this game.
Marcelo Huertas was the main victim as Dončić got position on him on a few occasions:
A foul is called and a trip to the line for Dončić on this occasion, two of six attempts at the line for Dončić in this game.
Here, Trey Thompkins goes to set a cross screen for Dončić, who gets to a favourable spot on the block and he goes to work on Huertas for the bucket:
The late help D isn’t enough to deter Dončić on this occasion…
We didn’t see Dončić push in transition as often as he has done in previous games in an effort to search for his own offense, the only real case of him earning some points out of a transition opportunity was when he was fouled on a dunk/layup (perhaps?) attempt, and even then it was off of a steal:
As you could probably imagine, Dončić was involved in a lot of screens/pick-and-rolls, so let’s look at some.
Here, Dončić comes off of a screen, curls and cuts to the rim but isn’t found:
I liked the movement here by Dončić but nothing came of it on this occasion.
Next, to begin the second quarter, Dončić comes off of a screen, gets downhill and extends to finish at the rim:
Bad time for the defense to shade back to his man on the wing, it opened the lane right up for Dončić to get to the rim.
The second half saw quite a number of Dončić-Tavares pick-and-roll actions (again, no Gustavo Ayon in this game). Here, off of the Tavares screen, Dončić gets to the free throw line, hesitates somewhat before continues his attack and draws contact which leads to a foul and free throws:
As with pretty much all games with any player, it wasn’t all perfect offensively. There were a few things you’d like to see done a little better.
There’s usually that possession or two a game from Dončić where he just goes into tunnel vision and seems to forget his teammates exist.
Here, a lot of dribbling from Luka (he is momentarily trapped, but not much) before he steps inside from the corner three-point line and flips a shot home as the shotclock is about to expire:
A nice execution of the flip shot but a lot of dribbling to get there (perhaps I’m being a bit harsh with this one).
However, this next clip is very, very bad:
There were more than enough opportunities to pass off to a teammate (and just one was enough in this situation), Campazzo was also wide open before being covered off. Just a horrible possession…
Again, those are few and far between but when they come they’re usually pretty bad.
Dončić dished out four assists in this game and was his usual self in creating opportunities for his teammates.
We’ll start with the pick-and-roll.
Here, Dončić and Tavares link up for a pick-and-roll. Rudy Fernandez really opens up this play as he flashes across the lane, leaving the defender of Campazzo (who’s placed in the corner) is stuck between a rock and a hard place: to stay with his man or to focus on the cutting Fernandez (and the reason why Fernandez is left open to wander freely is because his man has shown on the Edy-Dončić pick-and-roll). In the end, he does neither, and Dončić skips the pass to the corner to the open Campazzo who hits the three:
Really liked this play and how the movement of Fernandez opened up this opportunity.
Next, Dončić and Tavares link up in the two-man game. Dončić sees a lot of bodies as he gets closer to the rim and finds Tavares with a pass that most big probably wouldn’t reach but because Edy is a behemoth and super long he can reach it, elevate slightly and scores the hoops and the harm — and-1:
Maybe he purposely delivered that pass a little long because he knew that Tavares can just reach a pass like that because he’s that long? I’m sure it’s possible…
After a screen and re-screen with Tavares, Dončić turns the corner and skips it out to the weakside corner. The extra pass is made and a good shot opportunity comes of it but it doesn’t fall:
It didn’t result in a basket but that’s a nice pass from Dončić.
Baskonia didn’t show off of as many pick-and-rolls as some previous teams did, but the one they did show off of Dončić was able to slip a nice bounce-pass inside for this assist:
While the transition game didn’t result in a lot of points for Dončić himself, he did make things happen for others.
Off of a Baskonia miss, Dončić surveys his options in transition. He spots the open Rudy Fernandez and finds him for the transition three:
Next (and this was probably my favourite play from Luka in this game), this fantastic, near full-court outlet pass — after grabbing the rebound — to Anthony Randolph and it eventually leads in a made basket — credit Dončić with the secondary assist:
Love the quick recognition and then the execution of this pass.
As is usually the case, Dončić had his good and bad moments defensively in this game. He’s never really going to wow you and he’s probably never going to be a lockdown defender but that’s OK — as long as he’s adequate he’ll be fine and he’ll probably struggle in the NBA at first but I think he’ll be fine eventually.
Here, Dončić does a good job to extend the defensive pressure on the ball and delay the entry pass to Jaycee Carroll’s man on the wing. Dončić keeps the opposition’s options limited as the help defender and the resulting shot catches nothing but air:
Here was a good contest on a three-point attempt that misses:
As for stuff you’d like to see him do better defensively, there’s a few things (and a lot of these things can/will be taught at the next level)…
Here, a miscommunication between Dončić and his teammates leads to a three-pointer for Baskonia:
I’m assuming the man in the corner was ‘supposed’ to be Dončić’s man and he’s pointing to a teammate to cover the most immediate threat in Beaubois, but Dončić will have to recognise that sometimes he’ll have to step up in that situation.
Here, perhaps you’d like to see Dončić get a hand in there and see if he can create a steal or kill the dribble… something — not just stand there with his back against the ball as it’s being pounded:
In the NBA, you can bet coaches will be working on this — it does have to change.
And, of course, there’s that one shot per game where Dončić just doesn’t contest a shot:
You get, seemingly, at least one of these a game and, it too, will be something NBA coaches will stamp out of him very quickly…
In closing vs. Baskonia…
Hard to read a whole lot into this game from Dončić…
By the time he checked into the game it was already a 19-5 game and got out of hand very quickly as Baskonia just hit absolutely everything (shooting over 61% from the field and 43% from three) and they routed Madrid, leaving Dončić’s minutes limited.
Still, Dončić was an overall positive in this game as he always is. He made things happen offensively, particularly in the post where he took advantage of the smaller Huertas and in the pick-and-roll.
Again, some nice passing/playmaking from Dončić — cracking outlet pass to Randolph, that really was great. Not as great as some previous games when it comes to playmaking, mind you, but still solid. Better than any Madrid point guard in this one and by a considerable margin.
In general, the pick-and-roll play with Edy Tavares was fun to watch and was pretty effective both for Dončić and Tavares themselves and, at times, their teammates too.
Defensively, he was fine. Not a complete liability, and though there were things you wish he didn’t do, Jordan McRae (who is a solid offensive player) didn’t exactly have a field day against Dončić either.
I guess for Dončić’s standards — or the standard we’ve come to expect of him — it was a ‘so-and-so’ game.
Real Madrid’s four game winning streak in EuroLeague 17/18 came to grinding halt as Khimki Moscow upset Madrid by winning 86-80 in their own building.
For top prospect Luka Dončić, it was a bit of a tough game: 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field, 2-of-6 from three, 4-of-4 from the line, seven rebounds, three assists, three turnovers one steal and a PIR of 18 in 25 minutes of action.
Let’s break it down…
It was a tougher game for Dončić when it came to scoring the ball: 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 from three, but you can really make that 2-of-4 from three as some shots didn’t really come in the proper flow of the game — a heave from inside in his own half at the end of the first half and a shot at the end of the game when Khimki had already won.
We’ll start as we always do now, I suppose, the three-point shooting…
2-of-6 from (but really 2-of-4) and it all started pretty well, a very simply play where Dončić receives the ball on the left side of the top of the key and steps into a nice rhythm three:
Nice and easy shot here to begin the game for Dončić, not ideal for Khimki to give up a shot like that which is capable of getting Dončić’s confidence going early…
Easy or tough: sometimes it doesn’t matter for Dončić as he hits this tough, contested three:
A little bit behind that three-point line too. Again, showing that extended range…
There was one three-point shot that was absolutely massive in the context of this game:
Game situation: Madrid are trailing by two points with 29 seconds left. If they hit a shot they can tie the game or take the lead with a three, but if they miss they’re chasing the game and in big trouble.
Madrid run a play out of the timeout and it all leads to Facundo Campazzo blowing by Thomas Robinson on a switch. With Dončić calling for the ball behind the three-point line, Campazzo turns down a very easy two underneath the basket with the defense behind him and finds the open Dončić but Luka can’t hit the three and Madrid are forced to foul:
Not the best recognition by Campazzo in that situation — he had a layup right there, not sure why he turned it down — but in saying that it was a great look for Dončić: he has buried many tougher threes than that one and was naturally frustrated with the miss as the game basically slipped away from that point:
This was our first look at Dončić in the clutch with, essentially, the game on the line and he couldn’t pull through on this occasion. Many great players miss shots like this and I’m sure we’ll get another chance to see how Dončić performs in the clutch when the game is on the line — one example is not enough to make a proper judgement of Dončić in the clutch.
It was a shot that, sort of, typified the rest of his evening: tough.
The main reason why Dončić only scored 12 points was because Khimki played great defense, taking away shot opportunities and forcing some tough shots on the ones Dončić did actually take — we’ll, kind of, transition from three-point shooting into Khimki’s defense here with this next clip a blend of the two.
Here, Charles Jenkins does a great job fighting over the screen and sticking with Dončić before contesting his three-point shot which ends in a miss:
No matter what Dončić could do here, he couldn’t shake Jenkins. Great defense.
Some more good defense that limited Dončić… He receives the ball with just over five seconds left on the shotclock — so he’s already being asked to try to salvage a bad situation, so it’s always going to be a tough shot — can’t shed Jenkins, rises to shoot, gets stripped and can’t contest the layup in transition as Jenkins cleverly uses his body as a shield and Dončić can’t do much about this layup:
That three may have gone in if he had got it off, who knows — we’ve seen Dončić hit some wild shots — but he never got the opportunity to find out as he’s stripped. Again, good defense.
Some more good perimeter defense, this time it’s Malcolm Thomas, who doesn’t allow Dončić to penetrate with the dribble. Dončić then picks up his dribble and actually sheds Thomas in the end with a fake and a step-through move but can’t hit the leaner as it rattles in and out:
Nice improvisation by Dončić to turn something out of what seemed like nothing after he picked up his dribble. But the improvisation was forced after Thomas prevented the penetration…
Here was an interesting and nice move to free up some space… Coming off of a screen by Reyes, Dončić gets into the paint with his man trailing him. He backs into him a bit, comes to a stop, jab-steps with his left foot, shows a ball-fake — which everyone in the paint falls for — and rises to take an open shot in the paint:
Here was another good move (we’re transitioning out of the good Khimki D if you couldn’t tell from that last clip where everyone fell for that ball-fake), a move that a veteran NBA player might look to make, particularly a guard: Dončić gets free from his man after the screen from Felipe Reyes, after which he tries to back into his man to create the space, gets inside the paint, shot-fakes to shed his man, rises and draws the foul:
I see this from Dončić and instantly think it’s a less refined version of this move from Ty Lawson (video is timestamped):
(I miss you, Ty Lawson 😦 )
Couple of other tid-bits from this game when it comes to offense ball.
Going back to the transition game, Dončić pushes the ball, gets to the paint, draws the foul on the shot and heads to the free throw line:
Two of four free throws that Dončić earned were earned right here.
Another nice little move that drew a foul: the between the legs dribble to a behind the back dribble to his left:
No free throws here as it was pretty early in the third quarter but a nice move to draw a foul nonetheless. Beautiful.
And one more clip, this time from the post. Dončić went to the post in the fourth quarter, passed out of the first look for a three-point attempt and tried again after the offensive rebound off the miss but couldn’t hit the hook:
Probably would’ve been better off taking the shot in the first post-up but was unselfish in finding a teammate for a good opportunity but didn’t go down. The second post-up wasn’t spectacular, which isn’t what we’ve come to expect from Dončić: he’s pretty decent down there. The first one was the one to try and exploit…
Not as much to talk about here as previous weeks but still a few things to talk about.
Some good Khimki defense forces Dončić to give the ball up. Dončić finds Reyes, who misses the shot just outside the paint but the follow-up is good by Jeffrey Taylor:
A little risky to leave your feet like that when you’re turning around to find a teammate but Dončić found a decent opening for Reyes here — just couldn’t hit the shot.
Again, the transition game is big for Dončić and he got involved with it again vs. Khimki.
Here, he pushes in transition, gets close to the rim and finds a teammate, who gets blocked from behind:
Dončić probably should’ve actually attempted this layup himself but he made the pass and it’s a decent block from behind. Again, Dončić looking to make the pass…
In the third quarter, Dončić grabs the rebound off of the miss, gets his head up early and makes the simple, right play which eventually leads to a basket in transition by Gustavo Ayon:
Just a simple play: getting the head up, making the right play and it leads to something good.
Again, heads up and alert to what’s going on as he rifles a pass to the cutting Causeur, who is blocked inside:
Again, simple, easy: no need for complicated plays, too bad nothing came of it. Though, watching Causeur fly into the paint and get blocked almost immediately was pretty funny…
In the fourth quarter, Dončić gets downhill coming off of the screen from Reyes. He stumbles a bit inside, gets the pass out of traffic to the perimeter for the assist on the made three:
A bit of a weak pass if it wasn’t deflected but it got the job done for the big three-pointer, down seven in the fourth quarter before the three cuts it to four points.
We looked at this clip already, but it’s worth talking about again because it’s something we haven’t really seen yet. Dončić is pretty solid in the post, and most of his shots in the post are pretty good: they either go in or they were the right play/shot to make/take.
Here, Dončić goes to work in the post but chooses to pass out of it rather than attempt a shot himself:
Again, not something we’ve really seen up to this point, so it was interesting to see Dončić do this. It was a good shot in the end he created, just didn’t go down.
Some really solid stuff from Dončić defensively in this game.
Some solid on-ball D from Dončić keeps James Anderson in front of him after the dribble but unfortunately the shot goes in off of the glass:
Sometimes Dončić’s defensive awareness in help situations has been left wanting somewhat, but this game was definitely a step up from what it has been in previous games.
Here, on the left-wing, Vyacheslav Zaytsev gets into a spot of trouble and turns his back on Campazzo. As he dribbles, turns and faces the court again, he goes to make a pass but Dončić has recognised a possibility for a steal and jumps the passing lane, causing a deflection and eventually a steal:
Smart assessment of a developing situation here and it results in a steal.
A pick-and-roll creates an unfavourable switch with Causeur on Marko Todorovic, who dives to the rim and leaves Causeur behind. The entry pass is made but Dončić is alert to the danger, puts himself between the rim and Todorovic, gets a deflection on the pass and the ball eventually ends up out-of-bounds:
I feel as though in the past Dončić would’ve stuck with his man and this may have been an easy basket for Todorovic, but he made the right defensive play here and Madrid can set up defensively again.
After a score by Jeffrey Taylor, Khimki bring the ball up but the ball-handler is quickly trapped just after he crosses halfcourt by Ayon to the left and Dončić up top (he steps into it very quickly) and a turnover is forced, leading to a score:
A well executed trap by Ayon and Dončić…
For things that Dončić could’ve done better defensively…
Would’ve liked to have seen him contest this shot from Jenkins:
We’ve seen this a few times where Dončić doesn’t contest a shot, he got lucky that this shot missed on this occasion.
In closing vs. Khimki
A tough game for Dončić offensively. Khimki did a good job defensively, either by taking away looks from Dončić and forcing him to look elsewhere or contesting the shots he did launch well. Charles Jenkins did a fantastic job defending him.
Again, you have to remember these are professional players, grown ass men, not college students, and I think Dončić does come into games with somewhat of a target on his back because of his reputation and age.
The perimeter shot looked good, but unfortunate he missed the big three that would’ve given his team the lead. It was a good look too…
Solid game handling passing the ball but his teammates couldn’t take full advantage at times when they got the ball from Dončić — good opportunities were sparse in this game because of Khimi’s defense.
Again, some solid stuff defensively — think there’s a real progression you can see, especially in some help situations, something that was lacking a bit previously. Let’s see how it goes from here.
(Apologies if the video quality isn’t the greatest today. It’s a bit out of my control I’m afraid… Still trying to figure out the kinks of this whole process, definitely getting there but the video quality just took a step back this week.)
After a strong outing against Olimpia Milan, Real Madrid and Luka Dončić head on the road to take on Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania on October 26th. Madrid took their winning streak to four games in EuroLeague 17-18 (ninth in all competitions) as they won convincingly 87-66 against Kaunas.
For Luka Dončić, it was another strong game: 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, 4-of-6 from three, 6-of-6 from the line, nine rebounds, four assists, three turnovers and a PIR rating of 35 in 27 minutes.
Let’s break it down:
We’ll start with the three-point shooting again — 4-of-6 for Dončić behind the arc, making it another strong performance from the outside.
Unlike the last game against Milan where Dončić’s three-point work was done by the end of the first quarter, it was only in the third quarter when Dončić got on the board from three-point range.
Off of a miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and, as he likes to do, pushes in transition. He gets to the three-point line and the Kaunas defense doesn’t extend their defense as closely as they probably should. Dončić recognises the space that is given to him, rises and drains the three-pointer to put Madrid up by 14 points in the third quarter:
It wasn’t as if the Kaunas defense completely sagged off of Dončić here: it was just an enough amount of space that Dončić needed to pull up and hit the shot.
Here, the rare play where Dončić is planted off-ball and in the corner on the weak-side. Fabien Causeur and Gustavo Ayon work the pick-and-roll, Causeur finds Ayon, who takes a dribble inside and skips it over to Dončić in the corner for the corner three (after the friendly bounce):
We don’t normally see Dončić planted in the corner like that — a nice catch-and-shoot opportunity there. Again, having a big who can see plays and then pass like Gustavo Ayon really helps.
Dončić hit a few late threes when the game was pretty much over.
Here, just the standard stuff from Dončić: a jab-step and then hits the contested three:
He just makes it look so easy sometimes…
And just to cap it all off, a three-pointer to beat the buzzer after a bit of a broken play:
You’re probably thinking that’s a bit of a punk move from Dončić but no, you’d be wrong. In EuroLeague, every point counts and you have to keep on playing until the end. Cumulative score differential is a tiebreaker in EuroLeague, so every point matters.
Here’s a screenshot of the EuroLeague standings as of Jan 22nd:
Every point matters.
That wraps up another good three-point shooting display from Dončić, now let’s move on to the transition game.
We saw Dončić hit a three in transition in this game, and the transition game was where Dončić found a lot of success in against Kaunas.
Before we get to some actual field goal makes, there was this one play in transition that was interesting. Off of a steal, Madrid push with Facundo Campazzo. If you look to the left of the screen, you’ll see Dončić purposely hang back as Kaunas get back on D and try to ensure an easy opportunity doesn’t emerge in transition. Dončić will now spring into action and into the picture — completely catching out the Kaunas defense — and receives the ball from Campazzo, but can’t hit the three:
A sneaky and clever play. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in a basket on this occasion.
From then on, Dončić wasn’t so subtle in transition…
Off of a Kaunas miss, the ball ends up in hands of Causeur. Dončić streaks his way up the court (thankfully, with his uniform still on) and the ball is delivered to him. Between himself and the basket is Paulius Jankunas. Dončić takes it inside and uses a nice little eurostep to get by him and then displays some nice hang-time as he floats the shot home:
A nice set of moves chained together by Dončić for that basket, further exhibiting his offensive repetoire.
I included the reaction Kaunas head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius here because watching him react on the sidelines throughout this game was just hilarious. Very firey. Fantastic stuff. …Could you tell he’s a former player?
After an errant pass is intercepted by Causeur, he quickly whips it to Dončić who is already streaking ahead. Dončić takes it strong all the way to the rim and draws the foul, leading to free throws:
Dončić would hit all six of his free throws in this game.
Off of a miss, Dončić looks for the ball, wanting to push the pace quickly and try to exploit the Kaunas transition D. Felipe Reyes gives it to him and away Dončić goes. He gets inside the three-point line and slams the brakes before pulling up and sinking the mid-range J:
With many NBA teams looking for quicker pacing these days, it helps that Dončić can make things happen in transition (though, faster pace doesn’t always necessarily mean transition offense). The transition game was certainly effective in this game, however…
We saw Dončić work in the post again in this game.
Here, Dončić inbounds the ball and wants it back almost immediately so he can back down Vasijile Micic. After getting close to the paint in the post, Dončić then spins to his left and hits his hook home off of the glass, despite being knocked off his spot a bit in the air:
That’s an appropriate reaction, really.
Next, the Kaunas defense don’t communicate and this allows Dončić to be free in the corner (without the ball). Kevin Pangos comes over to cover him and Dončić receives the ball on the wing and goes to work. To the credit of Pangos, he gets his hands in there and does well to knock it out of Dončić’s hands and the turnover is forced:
Immediately after this, Kaunas can’t score in transition and Madrid and Dončić come again, attempting to post-up Pangos. Dončić was extra determined to back him down (almost too determined, you could argue?) and he spins and hits the, kind of, wild leaner:
A little fortunate here, it wasn’t the greatest possession in the world but it went in…
And to finish off Dončić’s offensive work in this game, he comes off of a nice curl and scores with ease at the rim:
Beautiful hand-off by Ayon too. Again — and I can’t state this enough — having a guy who can pass like Ayon is huge for Dončić.
Things didn’t start too well for Dončić here.
The first possession he’s involved in — off of the knock-away from Ayon — the bounce-pass to try to find Causeur is a little too low for Causeur to handle and it leads to a turnover:
I could be being harsh here, this could be on Causeur, but I thought it was a tad too low. Dončić would get the bounce-pass right later on out of the pick-and-roll:
Too bad Reyes couldn’t convert the layup.
Again in transition, Dončić tries to make something happen but the Kaunas defense does a good job cutting him off from the rim this time. Dončić then goes to his post game and backs inside toward what would be the NBA restricted area (which, of course, doesn’t exist here but that general area). As he spins, he draws the attention of the second defender. In that split second, Dončić wraps a beautiful pass to Ayon, who scores the layup:
What a beautiful pass. Great recognition of the situation from the time of spinning to the time getting that pass to Ayon.
Similar to the last game against Milan, Kaunas tried to hedge some Dončić screens to extend a bit more defensive pressure on him. Again, he dealt with it well.
After a little bit dribbling beforehand, Dončić comes around the Ayon screen and Kaunas extend the defensive pressure to prevent Dončić turning the corner. As Brandon Davies tracks back to Ayon, Dončić fires an over-the-head pass to Ayon, who makes a very quick pass to Reyes for a layup that is goaltended:
Good pass from Dončić inside off of the hedge but, again, Ayon being able to make plays from the center spot really helps complete this play.
Kaunas did this again at the beginning of the second quarter only this time Dončić whips it to the corner where Jonas Maciulis hits the three.
Good to see Dončić remain calm in these kind of situations and, most of the time, makes the right pass.
Not a hedge this time from Kaunas, but Dončić finds himself in an almighty crowd coming off of a pick as he gets inside, adjusts mid-air to find the trailing Reyes for a layup:
That’s quite the crowd to draw and a nice pass to find the trailer.
Sometimes it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
After a pick-and-roll with Dino Radondic didn’t really open any doors, Dončić surveys his surroundings and makes the simple pass to the open Santi Yusta who hits the three:
A very easy assist…
Defensively, this was an interesting game for Dončić.
Just a few mental/fundamental/team defensive mistakes in this game, things like help defense. A few ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ here but you can decide…
Here, Kevin Pangos comes off a screen and gets downhill heading to the rim. Could Dončić have done something here as the help defender, maybe reach in or fully rotate?
Perhaps this is a better example in the second quarter, one where you might actually expect Dončić to rotate and help stop the drive:
Again, Pangos is the beneficiary of the lack of help defense as he gets to the foul line on this occasion.
In the fourth quarter — and maybe this one can slide a little more since the game is now a blowout — but maybe Dončić could slap a hand in there or something as the ball-handler goes past?
More defensive fundamentals: doesn’t contest the Axel Toupane shot:
These aren’t major issues that aren’t able to be fixed, so that’s the encouraging thing. Is it an effort thing? Yeah, you could make that argument. I’m not worried though.
In closing vs. Kaunas
Offensively, just another strong game. A bit of a quiet first half but really got going in the second quarter. Encouraging to see the three-point shot fall in this one again. Again, I’m all for Dončić going to work in the post, I love it, thought that second possession against Pangos wasn’t great even though he scored.
When it came to both scoring and passing, the transition game was huge and we saw Dončić take full advantage of the Kaunas transition defense. Again when it came to making decisions when the defensive extended the pressure off of pick-and-rolls, it was great to see Dončić not panic and make the right decisions/passing.
“…Doncic already played very good last year,” said Real Madrid head coach Pablo Laso. He is a great decision-maker and that helps him. I think tonight he had a great game because he was hot shooting. But sometimes he helps us in so many things.
Defensively, it was an OK game but those fundamentals were highlighted a bit. I don’t think it’s to do with defensive limitations just more so an effort/awareness thing to make those rotations. Again, not worried about it at all…
With a 35 PIR to go along with his big stat line, Dončić was named MVP for Round 4 of EuroLeague, which marked his second in consecutive rounds.
After a big win against CSKA Moscow last time out, Round 3 of EuroLeague 2017/18 saw Real Madrid take on Olimpia Milan, again at home.
After a somewhat quiet game last time out against CSKA, Luka Dončić bounced back in a big way: 27 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, 2-of-5 from three, 11-of-12 from the free throw line, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals, one turnover and a PIR rating of 41 (!!) in 28 minutes.
It was a bit of an off-game for Dončić last time out when it came to scoring the ball, and scoring the ball from the field: just 2-of-8 from the field with many of them being three-pointers.
This was a much better game shooting the three for Dončić, so we’ll start there.
Dončić shot 2-of-5 from three (40%) in this game and his first basket of this game came from distance, in a way that should be familiar by now: with a step-back:
That is a thing of beauty… That step-back is going to be a problem in the NBA.
They say save the best for last, and Donćić’s last three-pointer of this game was sublime. And deep:
The FIBA three-point line is a little shorter than the NBA three-point line, but that is legitimate three-point range…
This was a three he didn’t make, but it’s Dončić — as he likes to do sometimes — grabbing a rebound, pushing the pace and seeing what comes of it:
Usually, I personally don’t like shots that come with, kind of, no offense being run but it’s worth a try every now and then (and a nice little stutter-step). And we know Dončić can make things happen in transition…
Off of a miss, Gustavo Ayon grabs the rebound and Dončić wants the ball so he can push. He gets it, does so and draws the foul and heads to the free throw line:
Dončić would get three free throws here as a technical foul was called after this play. Dončić shot a few more technical fouls shots than normal (a lot more) and this was part of the reason why he shot 12 free throws, but he did a good job using his pace to exploit the defense in transition.
Speaking of dipping into his pace, how about this for a move? The quick left-to-right cross and burst to shed his man, the beautiful use of fake to allow him to drift by him, the shot is blocked by the help defender but it bounces right back into the hands Dončić who uses the glass to score the easy layup:
I love fakes like that because it really makes the opposition look, almost, silly as they sail on by. They are risky though — Dončić was blocked and was lucky the ball found its way right back to him — but when they come off they’re great…
In fact, we actually saw this come back to bite Dončić as he tried it again in the fourth quarter, the defender being able to recover to block the shot and Dončić didn’t get so lucky with the bounce this time:
That crossover, though… We’ve already seen in this short time covering him that it can be lethal…
Here, Dončić just toys with Vladimir Micov as he dribbles, steps back and then crosses over Micov before having a floater blocked by Marco Cusin:
Talk about being on skates… That is just nasty from Dončić. And that’s just a great block by Cusin, he goes way upstairs to reach that one. Great plays by both players there.
Some other nice things from Dončić offensively in this game (and we’ll fly through these):
As the first half ticks to a close, Dončić is trapped after his teammate Facundo Campazzo flashes by Dončić (Campazzo’s man then comes to extend pressure on him) putting Dončić in a difficult position. He fires an awkward pass but it does reach Campazzo who takes the three. The shot misses, but Dončić sneaks in to claim the offensive rebound and gets the shot off before he hits the ground, aware of the clock and it beats the buzzer:
Great heads up play by Dončić: aware of the clock and getting himself back into the play and into a great position to claim the offensive rebounded after he was on his arse only a few seconds earlier.
Here, a nice curl coming off the screen leads to a layup plus the foul:
It’s a huge benefit to Dončić to have a big who can pass well like Gustavo Ayon can and hopefully the team that drafts him will have a center/big who can pass the ball well to make full use of Dončić’s game.
Here, a set play from Madrid as Dončić comes of the flex screen for an easy layup:
Again, it’s Ayon who’s making that pass. Good screen too. A beautiful set play from Madrid here.
There was really only one shot in this game from Dončić that, you can maybe say, wasn’t ideal:
It is a deep three with 13 seconds left on the clock — sometimes you’d prefer some offense to be run if a quality shot isn’t always on — but we saw him make a deeper shot than this earlier? I’ll let you decide on this one…
A little bit of Dončić in the post now, backing down Dairis Bertans here (yep, brother of San Antonio Spurs forward Davis Bertans), spinning and flipping the hook home for an ‘and-1’:
Keep working that post, young fella.
There wasn’t much to show from Dončić against CSKA — he didn’t handle the ball an awful lot to create chances — but there’s a lot more to show here against Milan.
We’ve mentioned how Dončić likes to sometimes push in transition and this can lead/has led to scoring opportunities, whether it was outright or at the free throw line. Well, he can do it to create baskets for others too.
Off of the miss, Dončić claims the rebound and he’s off to the races. As he meets the defense, he fires a pass over the defense to find the streaking Jeffrey Taylor for the layup and the foul:
A nice heads-up play there by Dončić to find the right pass/make the right play and get others involved.
Again off the miss, Dončić looks to push it. He gets his head up and sees the right play and makes it (a pass to Campazzo), and the end result is a dunk:
An unselfish play, the right play. Not anything massive by any means but just Dončić getting his head up and making the correct play instead of looking to score himself/take it to the rim.
Off of a steal this time, Dončić — knowing the tightness of the space in which he was operating from — produces a wonderful behind-the-back pass to find Campazzo, who goes between his legs to find Ayon for the highlight play:
I was left in awe watching this play, but mostly the behind-the-back pass from Dončić. Absolutely fantastic.
Another great play from Dončić, just a bit less flashy: the beautiful bounce-pass executed to perfection to a rolling Gustavo Ayon:
He just makes those around him better and puts them in positions to succeed, here’s another example where a drive and kick to the corner sets up a good three-point opportunity:
Perhaps lucky to escape without being called for an offensive foul but a good opportunity here that wasn’t converted on this occasion.
Milan did something defensively in this game that other teams in EuroLeague hadn’t tried up until this point: extending extensive pressure on Dončić in pick-and-rolls. They hedged a lot of picks and this forced Dončić to have to make decisions in awkward situations and he responded very well, for the most part.
In the first quarter, Milan extend the defense to Dončić with the hedge. Dončić fires a pass to Gustavo Ayon as the last line of Milan’s defense leaves Ayon underneath the basket to go to cover the three-point shooter, for some reason, leaving Ayon open for the open layup at the rim:
Here, Dončić finds the open shooter off of the double with a skip-pass to the weak-side wing:
Though Jonas Maciulis missed the three, Dončić did well to make what was probably the best possible pass that led to an opportunity.
Milan hedge again in the fourth quarter, only this time Dončić’s overhead pass is deflected into the backcourt but gets bailed out with a bad foul by Jordan Theodore, who earns a technical foul for his objections, leading Dončić back to the free throw line:
A lucky break for Dončić here. The pass he was attempting was sure to result in a turnover as Ayon had slipped behind his man as Dončić begun to pass. This was probably the best outcome for Dončić here, actually.
Now in crunch time, Milan, again, extend pressure onto Dončić. As he heads to the right-wing, he gets his head up and sees the open man in Fabien Casseur and finds him with an overhead pass. Casseur takes a dribble to his right and hits the contested three for a hugely important basket:
Another good decision out of the defensive pressure by Dončić at an important time in the game.
We haven’t seen Dončić throw many lobs so fat but he had a go at a few in this game but the play wasn’t able to completed on both occasions.
Here, Dončič’s alley-oop to Ayon is just a tad long. Ayon gets his fingers on it but can’t guide it home:
In the third quarter, Dončić throws a better pass this time but Ayon is still unable to finish the play:
Apart from the post defense, it was a pretty solid outing last time for Dončić defensively and it was another solid outing this time vs. Milan.
Early on, Milan tried to get at Dončić down-low but Dončić does a good job staying vertical and the shot at the rim falls short:
Here, Dončić does a good job staying in front of his man and contesting the shot but it was a case of ‘good-D, better-O’:
That’s just a good shot, not much more Dončić could’ve done here.
Here, a decent contest on the help D by Dončić shows his awareness of a dangerous situation:
Let’s talk about post defense… It wasn’t as much of a factor in this game but it did come up a few times.
On a switch, Dončić is beaten inside and is, kind of, dunked on:
To be fair, he shouldn’t have been in this position to begin with after Jaycee Carroll just abandons ship and leaves Dončić to have to switch onto Arturas Gudaits…
But Dončić, encouragingly, did show some fight in the post and denied this entry:
Again, encouraging… A little bit of fight…
We’ve talked about before about Dončić possibly struggling against quicker guards, we saw another example of this here against Theodore:
As for the mental lapses Dončić can be prone to have, there was only one major one from this game, coming in the third quarter: he just allows the roll-man to get to the rim for the ‘and-1’ dunk:
In that situation he should probably switch onto the roll-man and at least put some pressure at the rim. This kind of stuff is easily workable, though.
In closing vs. Milan
Overall, much better offensive game from Dončić here. Better shot selection, better quality of shots, more efficient shooting, got to the rim more, got to the free throw line often (more so because of the many techs that flew around in this game) and found other ways to score whether it was nice set-plays from Madrid or sneaking in for rebounds.
A great offensive game for Dončić here.
A much better game when it came to assisting/making his teammates better. That’s what great players do: make everyone around them better, and I think Dončić does this very well. He should’ve had the ball in his hands more than he did in this game to make plays for others…
Defensively, again, very solid. Not elite but solid. Some good stuff help D wise, some good contests… Just solid, man.
A PIR rating of 41… That is bonkers. And, unsurprisingly, earned Dončić MVP of Round 3.
It is hard to believe that he’s just 18 years old… When you watch him in EuroLeague, you look at him as a professional, playing with other professionals more so than looking at him as an 18 year o.d. With the NCAA/college ball, you watch it and you know immediately that these guys are just kids. For me watching these, I have to remind myself that Dončić is just 18 as he tears EuroLeague apart, and that says an awful lot..
Week number two of the 2017-18 EuroLeague season saw Real Madrid play their first home game of the season against EuroLeague juggernauts CSKA Moscow on October 19th.
For those who don’t know, CSKA Moscow are serious business when it comes to basketball.
Not only have they absolutely dominated basketball in Russia for almost three decades, they’re also one of top dogs in EuroLeague, winning the EuroLeague title in 2015-16 as boasting well as a bunch of runner-up and Final Four mentions since 2003. They usually have the best players on their side, currently including 2016 regular season MVP Nando de Colo, former EuroLeague MVP Sergio Rodríguez, and in the past until very recently, another former MVP in Miloš Teodosić.
CSKA are, more often than not, amongst the elite teams in EuroLeague, and as of writing this they currently top the EuroLeague standings with a 13-4 record.
So, a big early season test for Real Madrid and Luka Dončić, who started this game after his big performance in the last game vs. Efes.
It wasn’t as good of an offensive game for Dončić in this one as he scored 14 points on just 2-of-8 shooting, 1-of-6 from three, (but) 9-of-11 from the line, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two turnovers, one block and a PIR of 21 in 26 minutes in a 82-69 victory.
Dončić only took eight shots in this game and six of them were three-pointers. Though he missed five of them, Dončić had worked himself into great positions to take those threes — the shots just didn’t fall.
Let’s look at the one he made first.
After passing out of a trap, Dončić reclaims possession of the ball well behind the three-point line before going behind the screen and is switched onto. He deceives the defender into thinking he’s going to drive by him, pulling back instead before hitting the deep three-pointer:
The FIBA three-point line is a closer in than the NBA three, but there’s no doubt that’s an NBA three-pointer made by Dončić here.
Dončić missed five three-pointers but how he worked himself into those positions was really impressive.
Gustavo Ayon sets a screen behind the three-point line but Nikita Kurbanov does well to fight over the screen and stay in front of Dončić. But he stands no chance of sticking with him when Dončić hits him with a lethal combination of dribble and step-back, and it leads to a good three-point look:
A little long on the shot, but a great move to create this opportunity on his own.
Again, Dončić chains that dribble-to-step-back move together to shape out a good opportunity from behind the arc:
A little short on this one but, again, the use of dribble and the step-back to create a good-looking opportunity.
I mean, that step-back is just nasty:
A thing of beauty, too bad the shot didn’t go in this time.
Here was Dončić’s other made field goal from this game, sneaking in for an offensive rebound and scores, plus the foul:
Will Clyburn could’ve done a bit more here to prevent Dončić from claiming this rebound…
One more thing to add before we get to the main part of Dončić’s scoring in this game… I liked this dribble and drive off of the closeout into a pull-up J, but the shot rattles in and out:
Loved the slight hesitation from Dončić as the defender commits to the closeout…
The majority of Dončić’s scoring came from the free throw line where he was 9-of-11. Part of that was Madrid being in the bonus but Dončić did a good job drawing fouls too.
Here, off of the miss, Dončić is handed the ball, pushes in transition, goes behind his back to beat a defender and gets to the paint where he draws a foul:
The transition game is something that Dončić likes to get involved in.
Off of a CSKA miss, he runs the floor, gets the ball and draws the foul near the rim after it’s deflected (and then proceeds to make a ridiculous layup after the whistle):
Just wanted an excuse to show that layup, really (and a layup that didn’t count, no less)…
Off of a Madrid miss, Nando de Colo rises to claim the rebound but as he comes down, Dončić is there to disrupt him and the ball is knocked away. As Dončić tries to gather the ball with his right hand, it flies out of his hand and into the hands of Semen Antonov, who can’t keep hold of it and Dončić is on-hand to capitalise and he draws the shooting foul:
A bit of a wild play but it was good to see Dončić cause a bit of havoc and stick with the play when it went wrong and he was rewarded with free throws.
In the last game we saw Dončić go to his post game but only in the fourth quarter. Against CSKA Dončić, again, waited until the fourth quarter to pull out the post game but when he did it was effective, leading to fouls and foul shots on both occasions.
Here, Dončić catches the ball on the right block, goes to work on Cory Higgins and draws the foul before the double comes, leading to Dončić to the free throw line:
Not long after this, Dončić goes to his post game again, this time being switched onto by Vitaly Fridzon. Dončić gets to his spot and gets to work. As he spins to go to his favoured right hand he draws the foul on the push and heads back to the free throw line for two more free throws:
I hope whichever team ends up drafting Dončić, they continue to work on his post-game. He’s clearly competent in the post, and it just adds another dimension to his offensive game. It’s always good to have another weapon in the arsenal…
So, that was the good from Dončić in this game. Really, there were only two possessions from him that weren’t ideal when it came to his offense (again, this does not include his assists/playmaking).
Here, Dončić dances behind the body of Gustavo Ayon but can’t get anything going as Cory Higgins defends this possession very well. In the end, no one else touches the ball as Dončić launches a three that misses but ends up making up for this by sneaking in for an offensive rebound and scoring, plus the foul:
This wasn’t a good possession because once Dončić gets the ball with 16 seconds left on the shotclock, no one else touches it. The defense of Higgins has to be praised here, but it’s not an ideal possession by Dončić, you’d like to see him involve his teammates here.
Here off of a CSKA miss, Dončić pushes in transition in hopes of finding a hole in the transition defense. He gets to the paint pretty quickly and as he gets to the center of the paint, he is cut off by the CSKA defense. With nothing possible at the rim, Dončić turns and fires a bit of a wild pass which a teammate eventually recovers before a timeout is taken to deal with a shoulder injury to Anthony Randolph:
There didn’t seem to be a ‘Plan-B’ for Dončić once the CSKA defense cut off the path to the rim, and Dončić was caught in a bit of trouble. He probably would’ve been better off going to his left side but went straight into the path of multiple bodies, wanting to keep to his right hand.
And that was really it for the ‘meh’ stuff from Dončić when it came to his personal offense. Dončić did play more off-ball in this game than he did against Efes, so this played a small part, but it’s still impressive that he has as minimal bad/less than ideal possessions — for someone who has the ball in his hands as much — as he does.
While Dončić struggled shooting from the floor in this game, he still found a way to be effective scoring the ball by getting to the free throw line a ton. The shots he did miss were mostly threes, but I think the thing to take away from that is not that he missed them — though, of course, you’d like to see him shoot better than 1-of-6 from three — but how he got into the positions to take them: that’s what you should take away here.
Dončić didn’t handle the ball as much in this game as he did against Efes and he racked up just two assists.
But when he did get the chance to make some plays, they were delightful.
Here, Dončić catches the ball on the right block and he’s quickly doubled. As he uses his dribble and spins around, he sees the open Jeffrey Taylor and finds him for a dagger three:
What I loved here was how quickly Dončić made this decision as soon he felt the double team. Quick, instinctive thinking.
And this… This is nuts:
That is something LeBron James would do: that’s a LeBron James pass. And, again similar to a play in the Efes game, when the three goes up Dončić hustling to get into the fray for an offensive rebound should one come about, but in this case the shot went down.
And now for something a bit less sexy but a lot more solid (cc. Leigh Ellis). After spinning past Nikita Kurbanov, Dončić draws the attention of Othello Hunter, who was checking Ayon heading down the floor. Dončić then delivers a perfectly weighted bounce-pass to Ayon, but he is quickly swarmed at the rim and can’t convert at the rim:
Was it the right play to make? Would Jeffrey Taylor — who was pretty open — have been a better option? Possibly, but the execution of the bounce-pass from Dončić was spot on.
There was one particular pass that wasn’t ideal from Dončić in this game. As he prepares to set up in the half-court, he throws a bit of a tame pass that’s deflected and it leads to a difficult situation where CSKA could’ve easily scored:
Dončić finished with two turnovers but I wish the ball was in his hands to create a little more in this game. When he had the ball in his hands against Efes, Dončić made a lot of things happen and that sense of excitement wasn’t there in this one — he had in him but it just wasn’t called upon as much here.
Dončić wasn’t tested too much defensively against Efes but things were different here…
The main thing put to the test was Dončić’s post defense — he was tested a number of times by Nikita Kurbanov.
There’s a scrap for position between the two, and Kurbanov eventually gets the ball on the block. Once he goes to work, it’s a quick deal for Kurbanov — Dončić just doesn’t have the body mass that Kurbanov has to deal with him down there:
Kurbanov has been playing professional ball for a long time, since 2004. He’s got the experience and the strength to take advantage of this matchup.
Again, Kurbanov catches the ball on the right block and easily backs down Dončić for the ‘and-1’:
It’s a tough matchup for Dončić and CSKA went to it often in the first quarter.
By the third time this happens, I’d say Dončić is sick of it. On the left block this time, as Kurbanov goes to back him down, Dončić decides to reach around and this definitely unsettles Kurbanov, who stumbles into the path of Ayon and Kurbanov passes it to the man underneath the basket. Madrid’s good pressure eventually forces a turnover:
This was risky from Dončić, could’ve easily committed a foul. On this occasion it worked out and CSKA didn’t really go to Kurbanov in the post vs. Dončić in this game.
Outside of that, there were a few defensive possessions worth talking about.
We’ve seen before how Dončić likes the behind-the-back dribble move. Here, he had it unleashed on him, it beat him and it led to a score:
It’s a good move to beat him, but maybe you’d like to see Dončić move his feet a bit better to stay in front of him? I’m probably reaching…
Dončić’s defensive impact improved near the end of the first quarter.
Here, Dončić does a good job staying in front of Will Clyburn on the drive, blocks the shot, Clyburn ends up losing the ball and on the deck before a jump-ball is called:
Clyburn isn’t explosive by any means but it’s still good to see Dončić stay in front of someone like that.
Now for some D at the rim…
After a missed shot, there’s a scramble between Ayon and Kyle Hines. With the way the ball bounced, it eventually ends up behind Ayon and with Hines. Dončić comes over to contest the shot at the rim — arms straight up — successfully does so and a jump-ball is eventually called as Hines is tied up by Ayon:
In transition off of the turnover, Dončić proves to be the last line of defense, and he does a good job forcing the shot adjustment mid-air by Cory Higgins. The shot misses and there’s a foul eventually called on the rebound:
Again, solid. Didn’t get the block but forces the shot adjustment mid-air and that definitely contributed to this miss.
We looked at a clip already where Dončić came up with a steal off of the inbounds pass and got some free throws out of it. It wasn’t the only occasion where a Dončić steal has led to points.
Here, CSKA come in transition. After some bad defense from Randolph, Nando de Colo gets to the left block and arrives at the body of Dončić. Nando turns his back to Dončić, who reaches around and steals the ball from the unsuspecting de Colo. Randolph gets the steal, passes it off, gets it back and dunks it home:
A sucker-punch dunk to go up by 14 points just before half time made possible by the steal by Dončić.
So, the post D wasn’t great (and, look, it was a tough matchup to be fair) but pretty much everything else from Dončić defensively in this game was fairly solid, and that might have surprised you…
There’s two additional things to mention here and one of them is rebounding… I’m slightly concerned.
Multiple times in this game Dončić was just beaten when it came to rebounding… He was just out-jumped.
Here, Kurbanov travels from almost the three-point line and just leaps higher than Dončić to claim the offensive rebound:
Should Dončić have been more aware of his surroundings? Should he have backed up a bit before climbing for the rebound?
Off of the Ayon miss, Dončić slips in front of Clyburn for the boxout as the ball is in the air but, again, just loses out to Clyburn, who secures the defensive rebound:
You could argue that the bounce simply didn’t go Dončić’s way here but when something like this happens on multiple occasions you do ask yourself the question…
This one is more mental… He doesn’t go attack the rebound like Kurbanov does (who claims the offensive rebound) and then Othello Hunter is allowed to sneak in by Dončić, who was right there underneath the basket but didn’t really fight for it:
This is worth monitoring going forward. It’s just one game but it was concerning watching it…
We also got to see a bit of fire from Dončić as he earned himself a tech for being demonstrative about not earning — I’m assuming this is what it was — an over-the-back foul after Othello Hunter climbs over him:
In closing vs. CSKA
He didn’t shoot as well in this game but still got himself in great positions, still got it done from the free throw line and still registered a game-high 21 PIR in a win against a quality opponent.
Not as much ball-handling in this one from Dončić in terms of creating offense but when he did it was sweet. Decision making could’ve been better in some spots.
Defense wasn’t great in the post but everything else was fairly solid and that’s encouraging.
The rebounding thing was concerning but we’ll see how that goes as we progress and find out if it was just the matchup/bounce or if it’s a trend.