BANG BANG!! In my *Mike Breen voice
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 23, 2020
The NBA stars blew up Twitter on Sunday afternoon as they paid homage to the electrifying game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-point shot which Luka Doncic converted that stunned the Los Angeles Clippers, 135-133, in overtime, in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
“Sheesh, Luka Doncic,” tweeted Golden State Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Big dawg,” was the tweet from Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
“BANG BANG!! In my Mike Breen voice,” tweeted Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James,
Breen, of course, is the ABC-TV play-by-play voice who announced Sunday’s Mavs-Clippers game and is known for shouting “Bang, bang,” whenever a player makes an incredible or crucial deft-defying shot. Well, the series-tying shot which Doncic made definitely classifies as one of the ages.
But the accolades by the NBA players didn’t stop there.
“Gonna state the obvious here, but LUKA IS A BONAFIDE SUPERSTAR,” Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love tweeted.
Even Mavs’ long-time nemesis, former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, couldn’t stop from chiming in.
“Luka. We are not worthy,” Wade wrote in one tweet. And in another tweet, Wade said: “Please stay healthy Luka. There’s not many better players to watch hoop!!!!”
And from former NBA guard Quentin Richardson: “Luka sending folks home!!!! Game. Set. Match!! Have a good evening ladies & gentlemen!! Wow!”
Because of Doncic’s amazing shot heard around the world, the Mavs are now tied 2-2 in their best-of-seven series with the Clippers. More importantly, they appreciate some of the NBA’s greats stepping out and publicly showing their appreciation for what they’re doing in general and for what Doncic has accomplished in particular.
“It’s great to see these iconic superstars paying their respects, because those guys know how difficult a shot that is, and Luka made it look pretty easy,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “With 3.7 seconds to get the ball and take two dribbles and then be able to set his feet and launch a shot like that, it’s not an easy play.
“That shot, that’s an iconic shot. That will live on for years and likely decades.”
After Doncic’s game-winner nestled through the hoop, the second-year point guard was mobbed by his teammates and coaches and anyone on the sidelines inside the bubble in Orlando representing the Mavs. That amazing shot also was the lead story on all of the national TV sports shows.
“I was just really happy for our team, very happy for Luka,” Carlisle said. “Those kind of moments – they’re special. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve been, over the years, fortunate to coach players that have created a lot of those moments. Guys like Reggie Miller and Chauncey Billups. Luka’s had some similar type situations in the regular season.
“Vince Carter hit the big shot back in 2014 in Game 3 (of the first round of the playoffs) against San Antonio. During my 11 years with Dirk (Nowitzki) he hit no less than eight or nine game-winners. But when they happen in the playoffs in that moment and on that stage, there’s something that’s extra special about it. It also creates a challenge to go from that moment to the next game with the optimum disposition, posture and level of force, and that’s going to be a necessity in Game 5, but I was happy.”
The Mavs were down 54-33 to the Clippers with 7:39 remaining in the second quarter of Sunday’s game. But they stayed aggressive and kept pecking away and pecking away and eventually took control of the game.
However, all seemed lost when Marcus Morris Sr. drained a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a slim 133-132 lead with only nine seconds left in overtime. But when Doncic received an inbounds pass with just 3.7 seconds remaining, he calmly hoisted one of his patented high-arching step-back 27-footers over the out-stretched hands of Reggie Jackson, and the ball hit nothing but the bottom of the nets and suddenly this was a brand new series.
“We fought extremely hard to be in this position,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been a head coach 18 years in this league now, I’ve been involved in over 300 playoff games since I started playing in 1984, and I don’t know I’ve seen a situation where a team demonstrated the level of fight that we did yesterday.
“And that’s got to continue, and that’s got to be a constant, whether we’re ahead, whether we’re behind. That’s got to be our process. Look, it’s that simple. We can’t exhale. I’ve used the phraseology – we can’t let our guard down. It’s all those things.”
Despite all the adulation that came from winning Game 4 after forward Kristaps Porzingis was a late scratch due to right knee soreness, and Doncic was a game-time decision after he sprained his left ankle in Game 3, Carlisle knows this series is a long ways from being over. Yet he’s hoping his team can build off of the tremendous emotional lift they got from Doncic, who finished Game 4 with a stat line never seen before in any NBA playoff game — 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists.
In fact, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard and Doncic are the only players in NBA history to score at least 40 points in a playoff game while personally ending that game with a buzzer-beating shot.
“Playoff series are very emotional, can be very up and down, and it can be difficult to come into the next game with the optimum level of force after an exuberant win like that,” Carlisle said. “So that’s going to be one of the things that we need to do.
“We’ve got to keep attacking, we’ve got to keep being as aggressive as possible and persistent as possible.”
Carlisle knows the Mavs performed a bushel of positive things to put themselves in position to win Game 4. Yet he also knows there were some not so good moments that led to the Mavs falling behind by 21 points less than 17 minutes into the game.
“A game like that needs to be celebrated, but when you move on to the next day in a playoff series you’ve got to move forward and objectively study the things that happened throughout the game,” Carlisle said. “A 21-point deficit in the first half means that we can do an awful lot of things better during that period of time.
“We did some things to get more aggressive with Leonard – they will adjust. So we need to have other adjustments ready.”
That was part of Monday’s message from Carlisle to his players.
“Today we talked about the fact that everything we’re doing we’re going to need to do it at a higher level in Game 5,” he said. “The general messaging though is that we keep our guard up, we’ve got to keep attacking and we’ve got to be the more persistent team.
“That’s how we’ve got to approach this. We’ve got to play to exhaustion, and then we’ve got to manage the minutes accordingly.”
Meanwhile, Carlisle reminded his listeners that there’s nothing wrong with a little celebration. Especially when the Mavs can celebrate an historic win that was as breath-taking as the one they played on Sunday.
“I’ve been around this long enough to realize that you’ve got to celebrate moments like that,” Carlisle said. “And to be overtly exuberant about it, that’s a human emotion that needs to come out, and I think you saw it from everybody in our bench area.
“Everyone from players to coaches to trainers, support staff, our security staff. You name it. That’s a special moment.”
And if Twitter is any indication, it was as if other NBA players were right there celebrating with the Mavs as well.
sheeesh @luka7doncic thats ridiculous…BLOUSES!!!
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) August 23, 2020
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) August 23, 2020
W O W‼️‼️‼️‼️ Luka we are not worthy!!!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) August 23, 2020
Please stay healthy Luka. There’s not many better players to watch hoop!!!! https://t.co/4NMCf9YT0g
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) August 23, 2020
Gonna state the obvious here but damn…LUKA IS A BONAFIDE SUPERSTAR!!!
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) August 23, 2020
— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) August 23, 2020
We are witnessing this kid let it be known that he’s Top 5 in this league and coming for the MVP next yr and beyond!! His confidence is what let’s you know. He ain’t surprised by any of this!! https://t.co/nJ8tmibMm6
— Quentin Richardson (@QRich) August 23, 2020