Luka Doncic calls Hassan Whiteside's foul on him "nothing" but a playoff tension



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Luka Doncic calls Hassan Whiteside's foul on him "nothing" but a playoff tension

Luka Doncic downplayed the hard foul Utah Jazz's backup center Hassan Whiteside did on him in Game 5. He said it's nothing but a typical playoff tension and said he's appreciative of his teammates, who rushed to protect him.

"They had my back," said Doncic, per ESPN, who had 33 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists in the win. "Both of them, anybody, we had each other's back. That's what great teams do. I would go with these guys to war.

This is a special team." Whiteside was called for two technical fouls and ejected. Finney-Smith was also called for a technical. "I just ran over there and tried to protect my teammate," said Finney-Smith, whose defense Jazz star Donovan Mitchell (9 points, 4-of-15 shooting, 4 turnovers) credited for his struggles.

"It's playoff basketball. It was a hard foul. ... We know they're going to try to hit Luka. They've also been trying to hit [Jalen Brunson], too, lately. We've just got to protect ourselves, protect each other and win games."

Doncic offered to pay the teammates' technical fouls. He added that he feels way better in his second game back from the injury that had him 13 days off the court. "The first game, I was a little janky -- I use this word a lot," said Doncic, who had 30 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in the Mavs' Game 4 road loss.

"But I felt better today. I think the first couple of minutes I was tired, but then I was OK. I think the run in the third I was a little tired, too, but just getting my air back. I've got to hydrate for Utah now, the altitude."

Doncic scored 19 points in 3rd quarter. "Just play the same way we played today," Doncic said. "I think our defense was amazing, the energy was high and we played hard. That's the way we've got to play, and that's how we win the next game."