Mavericks star Luka Doncic furious with referees after taking multiple hits to the face: ‘They didn’t care’

Luka Doncic has been nothing short of amazing this season. The Mavericks’ second-year sensation is averaging nearly a 30-point triple-double, and has them in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Last year’s Rookie of the Year winner has garnered MVP attention and made his first All-Star appearance — all before turning 21 just a couple weeks ago. While he’s dicing up defenses on a nightly basis and making his teammates shine around him, it’s not all sunshine and roses for the Slovenian guard. 

Earlier this season, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle bluntly said that opponents are “beating the s—” out of Doncic on defense, and he seldom gets foul calls. In most of their games, you can see Doncic speaking to the referees after a drive to the basket didn’t result in a foul call. While it might come across as whining, Doncic may have a point. 

In Dallas’ loss to the Pacers Sunday afternoon, there were several plays where Doncic got hit in the face from a defender that either didn’t get called or wasn’t reviewed as a flagrant foul. In one instance, Pacers guard Edmond Sumner kneed Doncic in the jaw as he was attempting to block the Mavs star, who was driving to the rim. Both players fell to the ground, and while a foul was called it wasn’t reviewed as a flagrant.

In the fourth quarter, Doncic drove to the basket and kicked the ball out to a wide-open Courtney Lee in the corner for what would’ve given the Mavs the lead. While players were positioning themselves under the basket, the All-Star guard was elbowed in the face by Victor Oladipo, but nothing was called. While the game resumed, Doncic laid on the floor holding onto his face, and voiced his displeasure with the referees. After the game, he doubled-down on the lack of foul calls he was getting.

“They hit me in the face, and that should be a foul,” Doncic said. “They should look at it. I think the rule is when you get hit in the face, they’ve got to look if it’s flagrant or no, right? Like I said, I was hit in the face three times. Two of them was not a foul.”

After the Pacers increased their lead to three points with 13 seconds remaining in the game, Doncic confronted the referees about the missed called on Oladipo.

“They didn’t care,” Doncic told reporters after the game. “It was clear. Everybody saw on the Jumbotron.”

Doncic has taken his fair amount of bumps and bruises all season long, and while some of them should indeed be called fouls, he has a tendency to worry too much about the officiating which distracts from the game at hand. He’s even admitted to that earlier this season, saying that he needs to “tone it down” with the referees. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the game, and he’s still incredibly young, but as he develops as a player it’s something that he has to work on.

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