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NBA Finals: Irving delighted Doncic found his discipline as Dallas hits back

Doncic was the star as Dallas reduced the deficit on Boston to 3-1 in the NBA Finals

Luka Doncic

Kyrie Irving praised Luka Doncic’s discipline after the Slovenian played a starring role in helping the Dallas Mavericks keep the NBA Finals alive with a Game 4 win over the Boston Celtics.

Donic had endured a disappointing series and come in for plenty of criticism as a result but was back to his brilliant best as the Mavs cruised to a 122-84 triumph – the third biggest in Finals history.

Key to Doncic’s improved night was his determination to avoid confrontation with the officials and let his basketball do the talking.

Irving said his team-mates had been in his ear beforehand and Doncic had responded in the perfect way.

He said: “I think what you’re seeing is him just taking accountability as best he can at this point in his life. 

“He’s a young person, still trying to figure it out. I give him that grace. Also, we have to give him a little tough love where we let him know and reiterate you got to stay off those [referees] a little bit.

“I think it’s just lessons being learned. When he is locked in like that, not paying attention to the refs, he’s a huge, impactful player for us, and a great leader for us. We want him to stay consistent on that and not be too hard on himself either.”

Irving scored 21 points with Doncic adding 29 in 33 minutes as both sides rested their starters for the entirety of the final quarter with the outcome settled.

The series now heads back to Boston with the Celtics looking to get the job done.

For Doncic and the Mavericks, they will aim to become the first side to ever come back from 3-0 down to win an NBA series.

“Like I said at the beginning of the series, it’s first to four,” Doncic said. 

“We going to believe until the end. So we just got to keep going. I have big belief in this team that we can do it.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.