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Dallas Mavericks

Thunder coach Mark Daigneault has hilariously simple plan to slow Luka Doncic

Yeah, it won’t be this easy.



Apr 7, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) smiles during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t slow him down, you can only hope to contain him. That’s the approach NBA teams have been forced to take against Luka Doncic, especially Playoff Luka.

In 34 postseason games – including the Dallas Mavericks‘ first-round series win over the Los Angeles Clippers – the 24-year-old Doncic has averages of 32.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.4 steals. He’s already dealt with knee injuries during these playoffs, but that hasn’t slowed him down much. Doncic nearly averaged a triple-double against the Clippers in round one.

But the Oklahoma City Thunder – the West’s No. 1 seed – will present Doncic and the Mavericks offense with a much stiffer test. OKC’s roster is loaded with long, athletic wings who have repeatedly proven that age is just a number. Luka will have to battle through tougher matchups to keep posting near-triple-doubles on a nightly basis.

But Oklahoma City Head Coach Mark Daigneault has a simple plan to slow down Doncic and help his team roll to the Western Conference Finals. It’s just that easy, right?

Mark Daigneault jokes about his gameplan to stop Luka Doncic

It can’t be that difficult to stop a five-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year who’s a career 29 ppg scorer. Roll the ball out and go.

Or just have your best defender show up for the game, Daigneault joked per ESPN.

Dort really is one of the best perimeter stoppers in the NBA. He’s a sturdy 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and possesses a 6-foot-9 wingspan. His athleticism and aggressiveness give guards and wings around the league troubles. Jalen Williams (6-6, 7-2 wingspan) and rookie guard Cason Wallace (6-4, 6-8 wingspan) will get some one-on-one time with Luka, and Daigneault will have plans set up to blitz, trap and force the ball out of Doncic’s hands.

Then the matchup nightmare Dallas really presents shows itself when Luka can let Kyrie Irving, who presents his own set of troubles for opposing defenses, go to work.

Daigneault got a good chuckle, but stopping Doncic and the Mavericks will be no joke.

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Andrew Hanlon is the Assistant Editor for The Dunk Central. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has been writing about sports professionally for more than a decade. He started out covering local high school sports before transitioning into a full-time NBA connoisseur. He has been published on FanSided, SBNation and Sportscasting.