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Luka Doncic Immediately Redeemed Himself With A Complete Masterclass Performance To Put The #1 Seed Thunder On The Brink Of Elimination

Joe Murphy. Getty Images.

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Momentum in the NBA playoffs can be tricky. After Luka Doncic gagged from the FT line in the final 10 seconds and the Thunder pulled off the massive comeback win in Game 4, pretty much everyone felt like that was a huge momentum swing with things heading down to OKC for a pivotal Game 5. As we know, teams that are tied 2-2 who win Game 5 go on to win the series around 82% of the time, and seeing as how the Thunder were 33-8 at home during the year and were 3-1 so far these playoffs, it's not crazy to suggest that Game 4 was a gigantic win.

When you blow a home playoff game the way the Mavs did in Game 4, that shit can translate into the next game if you're not careful. Some players let that level of choking impact their next game, a team may feel defeated knowing they just blew a huge opportunity, which is why mental toughness is so important when you find yourself in a playoff battle. Those who can find a way to turn the page quickly and punch back make all the difference, and it's why the best of the best are often described as having short memories. Who cares what happened before, it's about what happens next.

You know who did that in Game 5? The man who bricked that first FT with 10 seconds left

Here in the blogging game, I am nothing if not fair. I can't sit here and write a blog about how Luka gagged in the biggest moment and then not give him a tremendous amount of credit for what he did tonight. On the road, all the momentum with the Thunder, a loss meaning your season is now on life support, Luka Doncic put on a true masterclass performance

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That's the thing about momentum. It sounds great in theory, but if you waste it, what does it matter? These two teams have played 3 games in OKC, and the Mavs have now won 2 of them. The Thunder couldn't build off their momentum of winning Game 1, and now here we are again and they couldn't build off the momentum of their huge Game 4 win. Maybe that's youth and inexperience, but maybe it's also what happens when elite players do elite player shit. You know how there was nothing the Wolves could do the other night to stop Jokic? That was the same shit tonight with Luka. Whatever he wanted, he got. When it came time for the best player to step up, this time he was ready. 

It wasn't just the 31 point triple double, we've seen Luka do that more times than you can count. Tonight's stands out because Luka for one of the few times all playoffs was extremely efficient from the field while he did it. A tidy 12-22 (5-11) from the floor, this was about as vintage Luka dominance as you're ever going to see. Completely controlled the game, nobody could really deter him from his spots, he took care of the basketball, all the things you need your franchise player to do to win a swing game like this on the road. Especially coming off what happened in Game 4, that's big boy stuff.

When it's clear that Luka is locked in, that makes every other Mavs player's life easier. Suddenly now Derrick Jones Jr has 19 points and is dunking everything in sight. PJ Washington feels great and is able to come through late with huge 3s. Shit, Kyrie only took 11 shots and it didn't even matter, which is a tad crazy given how important he is. That's the Luka Effect.

Now, momentum has once again swung in this series. 

Suddenly it's the Mavs who return home with all the momentum in the world, this time with the Thunder's playoff lives on life support. The Basketball Gods have given the Mavs a second chance, and now it's on SGA and the Thunder to punch back. Selfishly, I hope they do so we can have this series go to a Game 7 given how fun it's been, but if Luka is going to be THIS version in Game 6, it might not even be possible.

Will someone finally step up and capitalize off their newfound momentum? A spot in the WCF is on the horizon to whoever figures it out. If it's OKC, that'll mean they rode the wave to a Game 7 win. If It's DAL, it means they rode the wave and didn't even let this thing get back to OKC. 

This series really sums up why the playoffs are so awesome. One night you're missing potential game tying FTs with 10 seconds left, and the next you shut everyone up with a massive triple double to take a series lead. Talk about redemption.