Mavs star Luka Doncic plays role in fan's ejection after catcalls

Thu, Jan 25, 2024
NBA News (AP)

Mavs star Luka Doncic plays role in fan's ejection after catcalls

DALLAS (AP) - Another contentious Dallas-Phoenix meeting for Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic went beyond the court Wednesday night.

The four-time All-Star was responsible for a fan being ejected in the third quarter after the Suns supporter yelled that Doncic was tired and needed to get on a treadmill.

Phoenix beat Dallas 132-109 after outscoring the Mavericks 43-20 in the third quarter.

Doncic made headlines early in the 2021-22 season when retired Hall of Fame guard Reggie Miller, a TV analyst, said during a telecast of a Mavericks game that Doncic looked overweight.

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Dallas coach Jason Kidd conceded as much later in the season by saying Miller did the Mavs a favor with his observation. Dallas beat Phoenix in a seven-game series in the Western Conference semifinals later that season.

After the comment Wednesday night, Doncic immediately turned and pointed in the direction of the fan, who was wearing a Devin Booker No. 1 Suns jersey. A few minutes later, the fan was ejected.

Doncic took issue with reporters saying the ejection was based on the comment about the treadmill.

"So it was the only time, that time he said something, the only time?" Doncic said in a contentious exchange with one reporter.

"Yeah, I was hearing the whole first half, right? You put out something that was just the only thing," Doncic said, referring to a post during the game on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Doncic said he didn't ask for the fan to be ejected in the first half because he didn't think it would happen since fans pay to get in.

"He was cursing me the whole first half, too," Doncic said. "But I had enough of him. It was a little bit of frustration."

Kidd wasn't aware of the sequence that led to the fan's ejection, but has been vocal the past two games about his players losing focus over things like calls by the officials.

Kidd didn't specifically mention Doncic after a 119-110 loss to Boston two nights earlier. But he was asked specifically about Doncic after the loss to the Suns that included the Slovenian star getting a technical after the first-half buzzer. Doncic also got a technical against the Celtics.

Doncic was without All-Star sidekick Kyrie Irving against the Suns as the Mavs lost for the fourth time in five games.

"You could see Boston, he was running hot. And tonight he was running hot," Kidd said. "We'll talk to him about it. He's a competitor. He likes to have discussions with the referees. But he has to be better."

Each of the past three seasons, Doncic, who turns 25 next month, has flirted with the limit of 16 technicals before a one-game suspension kicks in. He has eight just past the halfway point of this season.

"His focus has improved. His maturity has improved," Kidd said. "We're asking him to do a lot every night. And he's one that's always up to the challenge. I think giving him that space to be that creative, to be that Picasso, the painter that we think he is, and there's going to be nights when he doesn't have enough paint or he has the wrong brush. He's human. But there's no excuse. We all have to be better."

The Mavs and Suns have had several chippy meetings since the 2022 playoff series. There were seven technicals Wednesday night, although six of them were by players not around for Dallas' shocking Game 7 blowout in Phoenix almost two years ago.

"I just think when teams have a recent playoff series against each other, that just heightens the atmosphere and heightens everything," said Booker, who has been caught up in trash talk in previous meetings but wasn't part of the latest drama while scoring 46 points. "I have no personal problem with anybody from Dallas, no fans or anything."

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