Jason Kidd on the Suns Seeking Luka Doncic Matchup: ‘They’re Going to Put Him in Every Pick-and-Roll’

Luka Dončić has become renowned for his offensive abilities, averaging 33.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game during the Mavericks’ 2022 playoff run.

However, it’s not Luka Legends’ record-breaking sixth 40-point game at 23-years-old that’s receiving attention at the moment. Instead, the Suns and Chris Paul are relentlessly hunting for a CP3-Dončić matchup out of the pick-and-roll, creating an offensive attack that’s overshadowing the offensive exploits of Dončić.

During Game 2 of the Suns-Mavs series, Paul ran Dončić through 19 ball screens in the second half, scoring 1.81 points per chance on those possessions, per ESPN and Second Spectrum. The back-and-forth between the two All-Stars all but erased the 35-point effort Dončić put up in the Mavs’ 129-109 loss as CP3 torched the suns to the tune of 28 points, six rebounds, and eight assists.

“It’s no secret, they’re going to put him in every pick-and-roll,” Kidd said about the Suns seeking out Luka Doncic, “[Opponents] did the same thing with Dirk [Nowitzki] until he participated and stuck up for himself.”

Heading into Game 3 down 2-0, Kidd and Doncic will have to find a way to get vital scorers like Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie going and a way to get stops when it matters the most so that Dončić can bring them home during crunch time.

Some of that may depend on Kidd developing a game plan that will lessen the load Dončić carries; as of Game 2, he holds a League-high 38.8 percent usage rate in the playoffs. It was 45 percent in the first half of Game 2.

Defensively, the Mavs could look to do the same to CP3, effectively wearing him as the game goes on so that he loses some offensive potency late in the fourth quarter. Another solution would be to pre-switch, allowing a teammate to switch with Dončić’s matchup before a pick-and-roll action can be run.

Time is of the essence for Dallas to reclaim some momentum as the Suns-Mavs series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Friday.