Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has been getting manhandled on the court lately, and head coach Rick Carlisle has had enough.
Following the Mavs’ 123-120 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night, Carlisle sounded off on how teams have been treating the young star, and he’s deeply unhappy.
"They're beating the s--- out of him. He's handling it well, but teams are taking liberties on him. We saw it with Dirk [Nowitzki] for 20 years here -- my 11 years -- all the time. Taking physical liberties on him, trying to knock him down, beat him up, stuff like that. It's not good. It's not good. He's handling it very well, but it's happening every game."
Carlisle also said that it’s starting to happen more frequently, despite being in constant communication with the referees.
"We've just got to make the officials aware of it constantly. What happens is teams will come in and they'll set a level of aggressiveness. There's a level where it's so physical that they only call a certain number of fouls. We've got to be able to play like that. We've got an aggressive team, but taking liberties is not good. He's got scratches on his arms all the time and stuff like that. It's not good."
For his part, Doncic is trying to keep a level head about it. He knows it’s happening, but preventing it is beyond his control.
"It's true -- I'm not going to lie. But you know, it's just basketball. It's a physical game. If the refs see it, they're going to call it. If they don't see it, they're not going to call it. But I've just got to keep going. Just keep going."
Doncic may be handling it well, but as Carlisle said, it’s not good. Doncic has already had to deal with several injuries this year, including contusions to his back and thigh, a sprained wrist, and a trip to the concussion protocol. There have also been times that he’s visibly struggled with the referees’ inaction.
When it comes down to it, Doncic’s talent and success this season is why he’s become a target for opposing teams. Carlisle is doing everything he can to protect his star, and Doncic is doing the only thing he can: play more great basketball.
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