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Luka & KP Chemistry issues

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Archx
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#21 » by Archx » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:09 pm

BlueSan wrote:No access


Spoiler:
The phone call itself, from a high-ranking Mavericks official caught me by surprise. His somber, curt tone and reason for calling were shocking.

He said he heard that I had been asking a lot of questions about two Mavericks stars’ apparently fractured relationship.

“Why don’t you go ahead and write it?” the official said.

“So you’re confirming there’s a problem?”

“Yes. Write it.”

WAIT, Mavericks fans. Before you leap to conclusions, that phone call and subsequent bombshell story were not about Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis, whose on-court interactions, or lack thereof, many of you apprehensively have tracked in recent weeks.

That phone call came on March 28, 1996. The feuding Mavericks were Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson.

Yeah, I’m that old, but my reason for referencing Dallas’ infamous Three J’s saga is to offer personal perspective on the seemingly altered Doncic-Porzingis dynamic.

Notice I didn’t say broken. Or alarming. Just visibly different. Restrained, not strained. Cool, not frosty. Apparent, not glaring, but noticeable enough that it’s generating buzz on Twitter and local sports radio, including KTCK-AM (1310) The Ticket, on which I recently was asked about it.

My take then, and now: It’s difficult to draw definitive conclusions during a pandemic season, when proximity to players is distant for reporters and fans alike, but I emphasized that while I see nothing remotely like Three J’s dysfunction the Porzingis-Doncic relationship always will bear watching.

Then came Wednesday night’s loss at lowly Houston, when Porzingis, asked about his zero fourth-quarter shot attempts, matter-of-factly noted: “Happened before, also.”

Thursday night against the Bucks, amid extremely positive news of Porzingis dominating with 26 points and 17 rebounds on the second night of a back-to-back, it was widely noticed that Porzingis and Doncic tapped knuckles after Doncic fed the 7-3 center for a 3-pointer late in the second quarter.

During Porzingis’ postgame Zoom interview with reporters, I decided the time was right to pose the burning question, pointing out to Porzingis that fans have noticed his and Doncic’s lack of on-court interaction. It was a question Porzingis easily could have swatted, Dikembe Mutumbo-style.

He didn’t.

“Yeah, we’re trying to play together and help each other,” he said. “We want to win. At the end, we all want to win here. We have to keep playing, keep playing together, and keep playing well and help each other.”

Again, not incendiary, but not a dousing of reassurance, either.

Social media if anything fans flames, real or imagined. During the March 21 blowout Mavericks win in Portland, fans tweeted video of Doncic leading a 3-on-1 break and, instead of lobbing to Porzingis he tossed a behind-the-back pass to another teammate.

Noting Porzingis’ drooped shoulders after the play, some fans decided that was conclusive evidence that Doncic was freezing out Porzingis — never mind the numerous assists Doncic has fed Porzingis before, and since.

Thursday night, for example, four of Doncic’s nine assists were to Porzingis. When asked about the Doncic-Porzingis relationship, a Mavericks source referenced the Portland play as fan imaginations gone amuck, noting that Porzingis was upset that night about constant hammering from Blazers center Enes Kanter.

“I think it’s [expletitive],” the source said of the recent focus on the Porzingis-Doncic relationship.
Promising signs

Porzingis, 25, is in the second season of a five-year, $158 million contract, but the fifth season is a player option.

Doncic, 22, is in season three of his four-year rookie contract, but if he makes All-NBA first, second or third team this season he will be eligible this summer to sign a five-year supermax extension for about $200 million that would kick in after the 2021-22 season.

When the Mavericks acquired him from the Knicks in 2019, Latvian Porzingis was already friendly with Slovenian Doncic from their days of competing in EuroLeague.

Hopes for a long, productive partnership further were buoyed by practice scenes of the pair joyfully competing against one another in shooting drills, playfully trash-talking all the while, and of their consistently stated mutual goal of building a strong on-court chemistry.

Last August, in the NBA bubble on the Disney World campus and mere days before their first playoff series together, I asked Porzingis about his contentment level of being a Maverick while on occasion being overshadowed by Doncic’s otherworldly production.

“At the end, it’s a team sport,” he said. “I enjoy having another guy like that alongside me. We complement each other. We take pressure off each other at the end of the day. We’re not competing against each other. We’re competing as ‘us as a team’ against everybody else.”

Without pausing and unprompted, Porzingis added: “And it’s important that off the court we get along well. That we share the same goals. That’s the main thing, really. Because we’re professionals. I enjoy playing with him. The more time we get, the more dangerous we’ll be.”

Four days later, in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Clippers, the Mavericks were leading 71-66 early in the third quarter when antagonist Marcus Morris Sr. delivered a hard foul on Doncic and, suddenly, they were chest to chest.

Porzingis, who had been whistled for a first-half technical foul, stepped between Morris and Doncic. Morris briefly grabbed Porzingis by the neck. Porzingis was whistled for his second technical foul, meaning automatic ejection. Dallas lost 118-110.

“I saw him getting into Luka’s face. I didn’t like that. That’s why I reacted,” Porzingis said afterword.

“He had my back,” Doncic said. “Not just me; the whole team appreciated that.”

Seven months later, do I believe Porzingis would have Doncic’s or any teammates’ back under similar circumstances? Absolutely.

At their core, Doncic and Porzingis are proud, ultra-competitive athletes with, from all indications, a shared passion for winning. Often in sports, such passion bubbles forth in less than friendly ways.

As Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle noted when asked about Porzingis’ comments after his shotless fourth quarter against the Rockets, “When that happens and we don’t win the game, this kind of thing’s going to come up.

“So as a coach, I’ve got to reconcile and balance all these things, and try to make sure we’re doing the right things during all stretches of the game.”

What matters at the moment is that Dallas has won six of its last seven games, and that when Carlisle’s preferred starting lineup is able to take the court the Mavericks are 15-4.

Will it ultimately matter whether Doncic and Porzingis are as close off the court as, for instance, Doncic and Boban Marjanovic? Not particularly.

Recall that Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant won three NBA titles together and also played in a fourth NBA Finals. And that Michael Jordan butted heads with, well, pretty much every teammate he had, as we vividly saw in The Last Dance.

Given their respective ages, there’s certainly cause for hope that Doncic and Porzingis will continue to mature, individually if not jointly.

As a beaming Porzingis told Bally Sports Southwest viewers after the Mavericks’ victory Thursday over the Bucks: “We just played beautiful basketball in the fourth here at home, and I think the fans enjoyed it.”

The headline in The Dallas Morning News on March 29, 1996, read, “Feuding Mavericks still apart: Kidd doesn’t plan to talk with Jackson.”

Earlier that season there had been a rift between Jackson and the third J, Jamal Mashburn. Soon after, though, discord began between Jackson and Kidd.

By late March, they weren’t even making eye contact on the court. Sources had told The News that the reason for Jackson’s and Kidd’s feud was disagreement over a woman. Team management’s decision to confirm the rift was a last-resort attempt to fix it: Public shaming.

“A Mavericks franchise already stung by a recent 11-game losing streak and an early season feud,” The News’ story began, “scrambled Thursday to analyze and diffuse Feud II: Jim Jackson vs. Jason Kidd.

“But from all appearances, the Mavericks’ latest time bomb is still ticking.”

Initially, the story seemed to have a positive effect. Kidd and Jackson spoke to one another for the first time in weeks.

A night later, after a home loss to San Antonio, coach Dick Motta stepped atop a chair in the middle of the locker room and announced to reporters and his players of Feud II: “It’s dead. We’re having a funeral tomorrow.”

It wasn’t dead. Three months later, Kidd publicly demanded that either he or Jackson must be traded.

Amid those turbulent months, a crazy but persistent rumor kept bubbling forth, that the woman at the center of the Jackson-Kidd friction was singer Toni Braxton.

This resulted in a certain Dallas Morning News reporter phoning Braxton’s agent, who, smelling opportunity, laughed and patched the reporter through to Braxton’s limousine as she rode to a concert in Los Angeles.

“I’ve at least heard of them, I’ll tell you that much,” she said with a giggle of Kidd and Jackson. “As far as dating, whether it’s true or not, a girl will never kiss and tell. You know that.”

She had just released an album: Secrets.

Obviously we’ll continue to watch the evolving Doncic-Porzingis relationship, as will Mavs Twitter, but if the Mavericks continue on their recent arc, the process won’t matter nearly as much as the results.

Regardless, it’s highly doubtful there will be a need to interview, say, Dua Lipa — not that I would mind.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#22 » by BlueSan » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:54 pm

DrPampiloni wrote:
dirkforpres wrote:Not a shock to anyone who has watched the Mavs since KP came back.

Same thing that happened when Dennis Smith was here. It’s Luka’s team, but KP is struggling to accept that. I hope Dallas is able to trade him this summer, it’s best for both parties (assuming he nets a solid return)


Rumour has it you need at least two superstars to win in this league. If they trade KP (or the next potential superstars) because this "is Luka's team" every time they are going stay a 7-8 seed for a very long time. KP is playing great as of late and I see absolutely zero reason to give up on him that easily. Fans who want to pull the trigger so easily on trading that kind of player must be new to being Mavs fans. They simply do not get superstars that easily in Dallas.


Actually there is a problem defensively. A Big one with KP on the floor
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#23 » by dirkforpres » Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:21 pm

DrPampiloni wrote:
dirkforpres wrote:Not a shock to anyone who has watched the Mavs since KP came back.

Same thing that happened when Dennis Smith was here. It’s Luka’s team, but KP is struggling to accept that. I hope Dallas is able to trade him this summer, it’s best for both parties (assuming he nets a solid return)


Rumour has it you need at least two superstars to win in this league. If they trade KP (or the next potential superstars) because this "is Luka's team" every time they are going stay a 7-8 seed for a very long time. KP is playing great as of late and I see absolutely zero reason to give up on him that easily. Fans who want to pull the trigger so easily on trading that kind of player must be new to being Mavs fans. They simply do not get superstars that easily in Dallas.


There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to trade KP for another star, especially when he plays like he has this month.

Great play or not though, the key is to keep Luka happy in the long run and to find guys that have better on court chemistry than the 2 of them have now. It’s not going to happen in free agency and I’m not sure a Luka-KP duo gets us past the 7 seed. Something’s got to give
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#24 » by Absinthe » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:51 am

It’s hard to develop chemistry with a guy who misses a third of the season and is still working his way back from a knee injury. This isn’t on Luka whatsoever. Porzingis does this nearly every season. Gets injured. Has surgery. Misses the start of the season due to injury. Works his way back into the rotation but is not 100% due to the injury. Is game managed due to lack of conditioning and the medical staff not wanting to aggravate the injured area. Rinse and repeat. If anything, his frailty has had a negative impact on the entire team’s chemistry.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#25 » by KhalilS » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:22 am

To KP's defense, and I read this just recently with Wiseman's injury, JJJ had similar injury is still out.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#26 » by HMFFL » Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:20 pm

KhalilS wrote:To KP's defense, and I read this just recently with Wiseman's injury, JJJ had similar injury is still out.
This.
I'd also like to add that nobody on our frontcourt is taking any pressure off KP.

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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#27 » by Bob8 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:38 am

KhalilS wrote:To KP's defense, and I read this just recently with Wiseman's injury, JJJ had similar injury is still out.


He might have similar diagnosis but he obviously didn't have similar injury. Not every meniscus injuries are the same. They even hoped that KP won't need surgery.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#28 » by BlueSan » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:52 am

Can you guess who is not celebrating in this circle with Luka?

Image

Can you guess which of the 4 teammates on the floor was the only one not running to Luka after he scored it?


Mhm....
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#29 » by Jellybeans » Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:39 am

BlueSan wrote:Can you guess who is not celebrating in this circle with Luka?

Image

Can you guess which of the 4 teammates on the floor was the only one not running to Luka after he scored it?


Mhm....

Image
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#30 » by BlueSan » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:24 am

from afar yes...
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#31 » by Speadge » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:27 am

Well, he victoriously raised his hand when Luka hit it, he just didn't jump around later. Not all the people or even nations are the same emotional, etc... so nothing to draw a conclusion here.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#32 » by Archx » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:50 am

BlueSan wrote:Can you guess who is not celebrating in this circle with Luka?


Look who is smiling and being happy in the back :P

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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#33 » by arkuo » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:15 am

Speadge wrote:Well, he victoriously raised his hand when Luka hit it, he just didn't jump around later. Not all the people or even nations are the same emotional, etc... so nothing to draw a conclusion here.



People forget that its different playing in front of 15,000 fans versus an empty gym. With no fans screaming it takes a lot of the emotion out of the game. Not chest pumping going on in an empty gym.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#34 » by BlueSan » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:51 am

If you guys say so
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#35 » by Bob8 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:07 pm

It's interesting that Luka has more or less great relationships with everyone except KP. Can you blame Luka, if he rather play with Powell than KP?
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#36 » by ARTjoMS » Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:26 pm

I do not believe this has anything to do with their relationship. It is just how KP and many latvians are.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#37 » by daoneandonly » Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:17 pm

Yea u cant read too much into that. KP may not just be an outwardly emotional guy when it comes to celebrations and being happy. Dont get me wrong, we definitely see some childish, petulant behavior that needs to be addressed, but that comes with maturity. many of us were like that in our 20's.

THJ can be maddening at times, but the guy is always there to celebrate and hug Luka in moments like this, and thats pretty cool.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#38 » by KhalilS » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:16 pm

I'm very happy with KP's play lately, he's a legit offensive threat, and is a good rim protector, his 2 major problem are:
1. lateral quickness, he's blown by way too much, but you can count on one hand the number of centers in the league who are legit offensive threat and are good at defending on the perimeter.
2. back to the basket game, much less critical, since Luka is one of the best post up players in the league.
Of course, his health will always remain a mystery.
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#39 » by BlueSan » Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:49 pm

Once again, his presence = massive problem for Dallas defence. Becaucse he gets exploited, literally exploited by opponents each game
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Re: Luka & KP Chemistry issues 

Post#40 » by daoneandonly » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:00 pm

BlueSan wrote:Once again, his presence = massive problem for Dallas defence. Becaucse he gets exploited, literally exploited by opponents each game


But thats almost everyone on the roster. Maxi now sucks on D, DFS and JRich are far from stoppers as well.

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