The Memphis Grizzlies (27-26) played a very important role in this match.
The eighth-placed team at the Western Conference had a chance to close the gap with the Mavericks in the seventh position in the event of a victory – if the Grizzles were successful, the teams would have been awarded only one victory, and the teams would have equalized in the loss of losses.
At the end of the match, it seemed that the Memphis team would be able to snatch a very important victory against Dallas’ “lone cowboy” (maverick).
In the fourth quarter, J. Valančiūnas was not in the middle of Grizlius.
In the second half of the decisive quarter, Utena scored eight points in a row and kept their team one step ahead, and in total they scored 19 points in the match, rebounded 15 balls and recorded the 40th double double this season.
This is a new personal career record of J.Valančiūnas. So far in the season, JV has mostly collected 39 dubbing, which it did last year, 2019-2020. season.
Impressively, it took 70 matches to collect 39 double doubles this time, when this year he had a total of 48 matches to reach 40 double double shows.
Having made 16 such performances in a row, Jonas improved the record of Grizzlies’ double doubles in the last match against Chicago Bulls, and in the double doubles of points and rebounds, Lithuania leads among all almost five hundred NBA players. and against Nikolas Jokičius (39), Rudy Gobert (38) and Domantas Sabonis (37).
However, unlike after the previous match, this time J.Valančiūnas did not shine with joy after the match. The celebration in Memphis was ruined by a difficult three-point shot at the last second, hitting L. Dončičius, who scored his second victorious throw by sounding a siren during his short NBA career, which lasted only the third season.
“I was very surprised when the ball fell,” admitted the 22-year-old Slovenian himself, who was bathing his teammates on the parquet after the match. – I’m a little lucky. But that’s the best possible feeling. “
In the playoffs last year, Luka, who was killed by a siren with a decisive three-point blow at the Los Angeles Clippers, leveled off with Utah Jazz Bojan Bogdanovic, who has also snatched his team’s victory twice in the last two seasons in the final second. No other NBA basketball player has scored more than one winning shot during this period.
By the way, less than two months ago, Luke tore up a victory in a similar way in the match against the Boston Celtics, but right after his decisive throw, the scoreboard was still burning for 0.1 seconds, so in theory it doesn’t count as a throw-closing match with a siren.
In all, during the short NBA career, the Slovenian national team star has already thrown 25 shots, which could have equalized or outweighed the result in the last 30 seconds of the match. 10 of them were hit by Luke, which is 40 percent. accuracy better than LeBron James (57/178, 32%), Kevin Durant (43/143, 30%) or Damian Lillard (37/106, 35%), often named among the best players in the decisive moments of the match .
“Wow wow wow! Come on, Luke, are you serious ?! ”LeBron himself reacted expressively on Twitter after the incredible throw of L. Dončičius.
“Difficult,” Portland Trail Blazers star D. Lillard said in one word about Luka’s victorious shot.
“Absurd,” Golden State Warriors sniper Stephen Curry also expressed his emotions.
“Sometimes you hit such throws, but sometimes you miss them. You have to accept it. I think that is the most important thing. If the team trusts me in the most important moments, I will try not to disappoint them “, – Mavericks manager L. Dončičius spoke about the winning shots. season.
“It simply came to our notice then. Luke hit one of the most memorable and special throws in a long time, said Dallas club coach Rick Carlisle after the match. “It’s one of the happiest evenings this season, because we managed to get out of here alive.”
True, speaking about L. Dončičius, the Mavs coach emphasized that he expected such throws from him. Especially knowing what Luka is doing with the ball, not necessarily during the match, but during training or warm-ups, when Luka flies into the basket and balls launched in hard-to-understand ways.
Faith in L. Dončičius’ ability to hit even the most insane throws was emphasized by the friends of the Slovenian team.
“Just watch – that’s what I was thinking at the time,” Dwight Powell of the Mavs Center revealed. “I really believed he would at least get a chance, but I would have bet money for him to hit.”
It seems that L. Dončičius’ shot did not surprise the representatives of “Grizzlies” too much. Although they did not hide their disappointment after the match due to the victory, they enjoyed a good defense against Slovenia during all the matches and shrugged their shoulders when talking about his last throw.
„Reuters“/„Scanpix“ nuotr./Luka Dončičius
“We played a great match, we could have won, but Luka hit a difficult throw. This is not his first such throw. We tried to force him to throw the most difficult throw possible, but he hit him and won the match for them. But I liked the way we played, ”said Ja Morant, the young Grizzlies star.
“It is very difficult to defend against him, not in vain he is a candidate for the MVP award. He switched to a higher gear in the second half of the match, he needs to be credited, but I think Dillon Brooks defended well, as did the whole team, said team strategist Taylor Jenkins, judging the defense against L. Dončičius, who scored 29 points. “It all worked out in one difficult throw at the end, but I’m really happy with our defense, and Brooks’s.”
J.Valančiūnas will be represented by Grizzlies at night from Friday to Saturday, when he will visit Chicago and play against the Bulls club run by Artūras Karnišovas. The Mavericks will host the New York Knicks at home that night.