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#pounditSaturday, July 20, 2024

Luka Doncic fouls out on questionable call in Game 3 of NBA Finals

Luka Doncic fouling Jaylen Brown

The Dallas Mavericks are now down 0-3 in the NBA Finals, and many will be pointing to a questionable call in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

Mavericks star Luka Doncic was playing with five fouls when he stepped in front of Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown in transition with a little over four minutes to play. Brown ran Doncic over, but it was Doncic who was called for the foul, giving him six and disqualifying him from the game.

Dallas would challenge the foul call, but the referees determined that Doncic had not established a legal guarding position and thus upheld the foul call. With Doncic forced to sit out the rest of the way, the Mavs, who had rallied furiously from 21 down to cut the Boston lead to three at that point, could not finish the job. Though Dallas got to within one after Doncic fouled out, Boston finished the game on a 13-7 run and won 106-99.

In real time, the Doncic foul looked like a true 50-50 call. Because the refs called it a defensive foul on the floor, they would have needed clear and conclusive evidence to overturn the call, which did not exist.

The Celtics were by far the better team on Wednesday and deserved to win the game. But with how exciting that late Mavericks rally was (and with how much Doncic has been battling through this series), that sixth foul call was a real killer.

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