After missing the first three games of the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Luka Doncic made his return in Game 4 where he logged 34 minutes with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in a 100-99 loss.
Result aside, Dallas seems to have its superstar completely back in the fold as head coach Jason Kidd said the 23-year-old “came out clean” from Game 4 (h/t Marc Stein).
While it remains to be seen whether or not Doncic will have a minutes restriction for Game 5 on Monday night against Utah, Kidd’s comments suggest that the leash is loosening and he could see even more time if the situation dictates.
The Mavericks had done well enough to stay afloat with their No. 1 man, taking a 2-1 series lead over the Jazz before Saturday’s loss — which was a considerable heartbreaker.
Dallas held a 99-95 lead with just 35 seconds to go, becoming just the fifth team in the last 10 postseasons to squander a lead of four points or greater in the final 40 seconds.
Doncic will have to be at his best to reclaim a series lead for his side from Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and the Jazz — especially considering that each of the first four games this series has been decided by eight points or fewer. The winner of Game 5 in a playoff series that is tied at 2-2 advances to the next round 82.2% of the time.