Luka Doncic wasn’t even supposed to have been playing in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals series between his #7 Dallas Mavericks and the #2 LA Clippers.

But down 2-1, Doncic suited up despite a sprained left ankle in Game 3 — and his top scoring teammate Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch with right knee soreness.

The Mavericks trailed by 21 points in the first half, but came back to lead the Clippers by 12 in the fourth quarter. LA came back to force overtime, and took a 133-132 lead after a Marcus Morris Sr. corner 3 from Kawhi Leonard.

All that did was set up the second-year All-Star from Slovenia with 9.6 seconds remaining. And after a foul to give was assessed, Dallas came out of a timeout with 3.7 seconds left. Doncic lost Leonard on a Maxi Kleber screen, found Reggie Jackson on him, snatched his ankles with the step back, and rose up from 28 feet as time expired.

Cue Mike Breen: Bang! Bang!!

Doncic’s first career buzzer-beater beat the Clippers and gave him 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists in a 135-133 Game 4 win for the Mavericks that tied the series at 2-2. It was the first postseason buzzer-beater for the Mavericks since Vince Carter beat Leonard’s San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of the 2014 quarterfinals, and the second buzzer-beater of the NBA restart — both overall, and against the Clippers (see: Devin Booker).

Naturally, the NBA was thrilled to see it. And the praise for Doncic was led by all of the greats: MVPs LeBron James and Stephen Curry (whose brother, Dallas guard Seth Curry, celebrated his 30th birthday); bubble MVP Damian Lillard (who knows something about beating the buzzer and a Paul George team in the postseason); Finals MVPs Paul Pierce, Andre Iguodala, and Dwyane Wade; champions Kevin Love and Manu Ginobili, and step-back aficionados such as Bradley Beal and CJ McCollum. Fellow 2018 draftee and second-year All-Star Trae Young also had to salute Doncic:

Game 5 will be Tuesday.


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