The Slovenia Times

Dončić takes Dallas Mavericks to NBA finals in grand style

Luka Dončić, the Slovenian Dallas Mavericks superstar, pictured during the NBA first-round playoff match hosted by Los Angeles Clippers. Photo: Xinhua/STA

Slovenia's basketball superstar Luka Dončić has made it to his first NBA finals, putting on another historic performance in game 5 of the NBA Western Conference finals with his Dallas Mavericks in Minneapolis late on 30 May.

The 25-year-old, who is in his sixth year in the NBA and previously helped take Dallas to the Western finals two years ago, stifled the hopes of the Minnesota Timberwolves for a second win in the best-of-seven series early on in the game, scoring 20 of his 36 points in the first quarter.

Dallas, who have been the underdogs in the playoffs in all the rounds - beating the LA Clippers in the first and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second, controlled the rest of the game with ease, clinching only the third NBA finals appearance in franchise history.

Dončić's feat in the playoffs, where he has continued to keep statisticians busy with baffling numbers, has been even more striking in the face of a number of injuries he has been fighting through, visibly limping at various times due to knee issues.

Speaking to the press after the final game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he credited the entire team for the success, pointing out that the Mavericks are basically a very young team, with a number of key contributors not having even played in the playoffs before this season.

"This means a lot to me. It has not been easy, the road to here has been hard, very hard. But we are here now. We're obviously not done yet, we need four more, but today we also deserve to enjoy this win," Dončić, who moved from Ljubljana to Madrid as a 13-year-old to pursue his basketball dream, added.

Dallas will be seeking their second NBA Champions title in history, the first going back to 2011, against the Boston Celtics, with game one scheduled for 6 June in Boston.

"They are the best team in the NBA. They have by far the best record, some incredible weapons both on offence and defence. So we will need to play really hard and play amazing basketball to beat them," Dončić commented on the pending series against the 17-time NBA Champions.


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