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Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Dončić, as his team heads down the final stretch of the regular season, admitted that he has been "complaining way too much" to officials and needs to keep his emotions in check to avoid drawing a suspension for amassing too many technical fouls.
In a postgame interview with TNT after Dallas' 113-109 victory against the Brooklyn Nets, Dončić was asked about his 15 technical fouls and what he needs to do to avoid earning a 16th, which would trigger a one-game suspension.
"With officials, I wasn't myself this season," Dončić told TNT. "Complaining way too much. I got to work on that. I just got to stay calm and not talk to them. I got to learn from that."
The Mavericks have six16 games left in the regular season and are currently sitting in the Western Conference's fifth seed at 38-28. If Dončić, Dallas' best player, is forced to miss time, it could potentially affect the team's seeding in the playoffs.
Making matters more precarious, if Dončić does get called for a 16th technical foul, every two technical fouls called after that would then trigger another one-game ban.
In a post-game news conference with reporters later, Dončić elaborated on what he told the TNT crew.
"I realize it," Dončić said. "It's something that I'm not supposed to do, with all the emotions in games, but obviously I've got to stop. It's just hard for me on the court with all the emotions, but I realize it and I've got to work on this. It's tough to do it, but I've got to work on it and be way better than this."
Dončić is averaging 28.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game this season. Dončić's 15 technical fouls are tied for most in the NBA with Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard.
Dončić, technically, has been called for 16 technical fouls this year, but he had one from an April 2 game against the New York Knicks rescinded, leaving his current total at 15.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mavericks' Luka Dončić says he has been 'complaining way too much'