Jason Kidd says Luka Doncic “has to play defense” ahead of Game 3.

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Mavericks coach Jason Kidd wants Luka Doncic to “stand up for himself” on the defensive end while Dallas trails the Suns 2-0 in their playoff series.

“It’s not just about protecting Luka. said Kidd on Friday before Game 3 of the Conference Semifinals at home in Dallas.

After Wednesday’s Game 2 loss, Kidd said the Mavericks needed to “protect” Doncic better if the Suns were chasing him – but then called out Doncic hours before Game 3.

“He has to play defense,” Kidd said Friday. “There’s no secret – they’ll put it in every pick and roll. They did the same with [Mavericks legend] dagger [Nowitzki] until Dirk joined in and prevailed.

“You can always ask for help, but you have to participate. Luka did that for us on this trip and that’s why he’s going to have to do it (Friday night). He will have to defend himself. If they score, they score, but we don’t want it to be on their terms. And the other thing is that his teammates have to help better.”

Chris Paul and the Suns figured out how to target Doncic in an offensive tackle that consists of Phoenix point guard luring him into the pick and roll.

Kidd also specifically called guards Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie after Game 2 and said the team needed more performance from the pair – who have just 41 points at 32.6 percent over the two losses combined.

Jason Kidd said Luka Doncic needs to play defensively ahead of Game 3.
AP
Jason Kid
The Mavericks are 2-0 down against the Suns.
AP

Doncic was heavily targeted by the Suns in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss. Afterwards, the Slovenian star said: “I just have to play better defensively. That’s it.”

However, the Slovenian excelled on offense, scoring 35 points in Game 2 on 13-of-22 shooting. Kidd. meanwhile, after Game 2, a different tune whistled as he praised the 23-year-old All-Star for showing up.

“He had a great game but no one else showed it,” Kidd said of Doncic after Game 2. “We have to get other guys to shoot the ball better. We can’t win if it’s just him out there making 30 points a night – not at this time of year. And we’re playing against the best team in the league, so we have to get other guys to work.”

Doncic is averaging 33.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game during the Mavericks’ 2022 playoff run. But his offensive efforts haven’t been enough to steal a win so far in the series. According to Kidd, Doncic’s defense will matter if the Mavericks stage a comeback.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/06/jason-kidd-says-luka-doncic-got-to-play-defense-before-game-3/ Jason Kidd says Luka Doncic “has to play defense” ahead of Game 3.

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