Sunday, June 16, 2024

Luka Doncic wins Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP award as Mavericks reach NBA Finals

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Luka Doncic may have entered the NBA as the reigning EuroLeague MVP in 2018, but since then, he hadn’t won an MVP award of any kind entering Thursday. He’s finished in the top-eight of regular-season MVP voting in each of the past five seasons, but never actually won the award. He’s played in All-Star Games in all five of those seasons, but never earned the Kobe Bryant trophy either. Without reaching the NBA Finals, he had no chance to win the Bill Russell Finals MVP award.

But on Thursday, Doncic checked several boxes off of his career to-do list. Most importantly, he led the Dallas Mavericks to the first NBA Finals of his career with a 124-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. That victory ended the Western Conference finals at 4-1, sending the Mavericks to the Finals for the third time in franchise history, where they will face the Boston Celtics.

As a cherry on top, Doncic also won the first MVP award of his NBA career as he was named the Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP. The award, only in its third year of existence, was never really in doubt for Doncic. He dominated the series by averaging 32.4 points, 8.2 assists and 9.6 rebounds per game against Minnesota. His biggest moment of the series came in Game 2, when he hit a step-back 3-pointer over Rudy Gobert to give the Mavericks the lead in the closing seconds. Dallas held on to win the game and take a 2-0 series lead.

Now Doncic will have a chance to win a far more prestigious MVP award when he takes the floor in the Finals. Though Boston will likely open the series as the favorites, Doncic’s singular brilliance should make him the likeliest Finals MVP winner overall, and if Dallas completes its dream season, he should comfortably take home the Bill Russell trophy.

Of course, the bigger goal is the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Mavericks are now only four wins away from winning the second championship in franchise history. With Doncic at the helm, they’re perfectly positioned to do just that.

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