“Terrible,” Doncic said.
“I should never had like 11 turnovers,” Doncic said after the game. “That is 11 more possessions, imagine that. I think a lot of this game, I got to do way better than that.”
Doncic added: “Eleven turnovers, never had that much. I just want to win. I am really proud of this team, we fought, we fought ’til the end. We tried. I am really proud.”
In addition to setting the NBA record for most points in a playoff debut, Doncic, 21, joined elite company when it came to his big postseason debut. Only Magic Johnson and LeBron James have recorded 40-5-5 in a playoff game at a younger age than Doncic, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
It was a nightmarish start, though, for the Mavericks. They not only trailed 18-2 in the first 3 1/2 minutes but also had to hold their breath when Doncic hobbled off the court early. The point guard returned after a brief exit to have his left ankle retaped.
But the Mavericks stormed back, going on a 48-18 run at one point. Doncic gave coach Doc Rivers’ vaunted Clippers defense problems, even with Kristaps Porzingis ejected early in the third after picking up his second technical foul.
Doncic scored 23 of his points and made 8 of 13 shots in the second half. He scored or assisted on 66 of the 82 points the Mavericks scored while he was on the floor, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“He’s great,” Leonard said. “You know what I mean? He’s very poised. He’s very trusted on that team. He can get to his spots, find his teammates, gets them easy baskets. He makes tough baskets well. He’s a great player.”
George was very impressed by the 21-year-old Maverick.
“The future,” George said of Doncic moments after the game in his ESPN on-court interview.
“He’s a fighter,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s always going to battle. He will never get discouraged. He’s got a very positive attitude on the floor with his teammates. He’s been in so many games in his young career that he’s seen everything.”
Carlisle added: “Look, his usage rate is so high that he’s going to have a few more [turnovers] than most players. Look, we put a lot on him.”
Rivers said that he doesn’t mind Doncic scoring as long as he’s not getting his teammates involved.
“He’s amazing,” Rivers said. “I thought we guarded him pretty well, forced him into a lot of tough shots, forced him into 11 turnovers. I thought what we did poorly, what shows his greatness, is every time we made a mistake on the weak side, he found that guy and that guy made a shot.
“I didn’t mind his basket attacks. I didn’t mind his 3s. I mind our help so he could get the assists. I’ll give up the points to him — I just don’t want to give up the points and the assists. I think we allowed him to have both tonight.”