After feisty night with officials, Luka Doncic needs to ‘learn to calm myself down’

Luka Doncic wasn’t happy on Sunday night at the American Airlines Center, and let the officials know that fact on multiple occasions.

Doncic, who nearly led the Dallas Mavericks to a 24-point comeback against the Sacramento Kings, was called for a technical foul near the end of the first quarter and was fuming after not receiving a call on a shot with just 7.7 seconds left in the game — a foul that would have put him in position to tie the game at the free throw line.

Without the call, the Kings held on to beat the Mavs 110-106 and snap their five-game win streak.

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Doncic was still livid about the call after the final buzzer sounded, and yelled at the officiating crew one last time before finally walking off the court.

“I’m passionate for the game,” Doncic said after the loss, via ESPN. “I want to win, and I just sometimes get out of control, because I want to win the whole time. I’m competitive. You can ask my family. Even if it’s not basketball, if it’s anything, I’m so competitive. But yeah, I’ve got to work on that for sure. 

“I know how to [approach officials], but like I say, I’m passionate. I know a lot of times I’m wrong. Persons are wrong sometimes, and I’ve just got to learn to calm myself down and go to the next play.”

Doncic picked up his technical foul after missing a layup with less than 90 seconds left in the first quarter. With play heading to the other end of the floor, Doncic swung out of frustration and started yelling at the officials, quickly earning the technical foul — his second in the past three games.

He was subbed out at that point, but then tried to confront the officials again at the end of the quarter. He was held back by teammates and even had a brief conversation with owner Mark Cuban before the second quarter started.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle didn’t want to get into the details of Doncic’s recent technical fouls, but knows his 20-year-old star can handle the extra attention and pressure that comes with his recent string of success.

He’s also not doubting that Doncic is getting fouled.

“Look, he’s a guy that gets hit a lot,” Carlisle said, via ESPN. “People take a lot of liberties on him. I was here for 11 years with Dirk Nowitzki, who people constantly took shots at, were trying to get physical with, trying to distract him, everything else.

“Everybody in the league is trying to do it with Doncic, too. He’s tough. He can handle all of it, but when he comes over to the bench and he’s got scratches and blood marks on his arms and hands, I know there’s something there.”

Doncic finished the night with 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. His performance set an NBA record, too, passing Michael Jordan with his 19th straight game with at least 20 points, five assists and five rebounds. The streak is the longest in the league since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.

While that feat is impressive in its own right, Doncic is likely more focused on the loss and what he viewed as several missed calls against him.

Though he may not be happy about it, Doncic knows he needs to keep his cool on the court going forward.

“They’re humans,” Doncic said, via ESPN. “They make mistakes. I make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Just sometimes they don’t see it and they don’t call it. Like I said, I’ve got to calm down and go to the next play.”

In a game with multiple confrontations with the officials, Mavs star Luka Doncic knows he needs to stay focused and keep his cool on the court. (AP/Richard W. Rodriguez)
In a game with multiple confrontations with the officials, Mavs star Luka Doncic knows he needs to stay focused and keep his cool on the court. (AP/Richard W. Rodriguez)

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