“This Week in Luka” is a weekly newsletter curated by SportsDay Mavericks beat writer Callie Caplan — all about your favorite Dallas Mavericks superstar. To have her newsletter sent directly to your inbox (and read it a day early … it gets sent out every Friday), sign up here.
Luka never wants to miss a game.
That’s why he’s played through nagging ailments and rarely taken to the NBA’s load management culture in three-plus seasons with the Mavericks.
And why he hopped over and plopped down in a courtside seat just after Austin Rivers rolled up on his left ankle Monday night.
Even as he grabbed at his ankle, he still looked more like a superstar trying to see if he could push through pain to finish the last 44 seconds, rather than someone eager to hobble right back to the locker room.
But after Luka missed his first game of the season Wednesday and is doubtful to play Friday night for the rematch in Phoenix, there’s one game coming up he especially won’t want to watch from the bench:
Sunday afternoon against the Clippers.
Sure he’d love to rematch against LA — even without fellow All-Star Kawhi Leonard — to exact a little early season revenge for the playoffs last year … and the year before that … in this mini regular-season series.
The matchup could be important for seeding or tiebreakers come April, too.
But more meaningful to Doncic personally: He’d love to play in primetime back home.
The tip Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Dallas time is 9:30 p.m. in Slovenia.
Think you had it tough in America when Luka and Slovenia played a couple Olympic games during 3:30 a.m. Dallas time? Slovenians and Luka’s European fans from Real Madrid and beyond spend most of the NBA season living nocturnal-type schedules just to watch Luka in Dallas, seven hours behind.
The afternoon-game hype applies to more than just Luka for the Mavericks.
Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia), Boban Marjanovic (Serbia), Maxi Kleber (Germany) and Frank Ntilikina (France) are also putting on a…