Monday, June 17, 2024

WATCH: Mavs’ Luka Doncic drains epic game-winning 3 in Rudy Gobert’s face, yells, ‘You can’t f—ing guard me’

Luka Doncic can do just about everything offensively, but his signature skill might be his step-back jumper. He shot a career-best 38.2% from 3-point range this season, and that dagger is the best shot in his repertoire. He’s used it to win plenty of regular-season games, and in 2020, he even won a playoff game at the buzzer with it against the Los Angeles Clippers. But on Friday, he made inarguably the biggest step-back jumper of his career to date.

The Dallas Mavericks trailed the Minnesota Timberwolves by as many as 18 points in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. With Doncic leading the way, they stormed all the way back. Trailing by two with the final seconds ticking off of the clock, Doncic faced Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert one-on-one from the perimeter with a chance to tie or take the lead. 

He went for the win and swished a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining.

Minnesota got up a clean look of its own at the buzzer, but Naz Reid, who had already made seven 3-pointers in the game, couldn’t quite connect on No. 8. In the end, the Mavericks managed to do to the Timberwolves what Minnesota did to Denver last round: take the two opening games in its home building.

What’s worse for Minnesota is that the defense it ran on that last play was designed to prevent this type of shot. The Timberwolves switched all screens hoping to ensure that Dallas couldn’t take a 3-pointer. Of course, Dallas used that strategy against Minnesota by isolating Doncic against Gobert, an excellent rim-protector but shaky perimeter defender, and in a one-on-one matchup, he shook free and launched the triple. 

After he made it, he appeared to shout “You can’t f—ing guard me” to the four-time Defensive Player of the Year.

After the game, Doncic took another jab at Gobert, but this time it was a bit more playful. “I can’t move fast,” he joked on the TNT broadcast,” but I can move faster than him.”

Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals have been incredibly close. Dallas won the pair by four combined points, and it’s been because of Doncic down the stretch in each that secured those victories. Now, Minnesota will have to respond on the road. Fortunately for the Timberwolves, they are 5-1 outside of Minnesota this postseason, so the series isn’t over yet. 

Still, teams with a 2-0 lead in a series have a record of 422-34 in NBA history, and thanks to Doncic, the Mavericks are now two wins away from the NBA Finals.

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