Thunder: Old Luka Doncic comments about Lu Dort go viral ahead of Game 1

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

After a rather effortless first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans, the OKC Thunder are now gearing up for a semifinal matchup with what is believed to be a much bigger challenge in the Dallas Mavericks.

Though Oklahoma City won the regular season series 3-1, considering how coach Jason Kidd has had his club playing over their last two months of action -- going 20-6 over this span including the playoffs -- as of this writing many analysts and media pundits believe this second-round bout could find itself going to distance.

Leading into Tuesday's Game 1, the vast majority of talk regarding the game plan of this Thunder team has revolved around how they intend to try and slow down surging superstar Luka Doncic, who has been absolutely electric thus far into the 2024 postseason with his averages of 29.8 points, 9.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Unsurprisingly, the name often mentioned as being a possible solution to halting the 25-year-old's momentum is OKC's defensive extraordinaire, Lu Dort, who is coming off a first-round series where he held NOLA star Brandon Ingram to just 14.3 points per game on 34.5 percent shooting from the floor and 25.0 percent shooting from distance, a far-cray from his 20.8 points per game averages during the regular season.

Now, as they gear up for round two, Thunder players and personnel alike are preaching that while it will take a full-on team effort to slow down the likes of Doncic, Dort will be leaned on heavily as their first line of defense.

This agenda may not be all that exciting for the Slovenian-born baller, for an old clip of him praising the Oklahoma City wing's efforts on the less glamorous side of the ball has been found going viral as of late, which, in turn, likely has people assuming that such a matchup is not preferable for the Mavs star.

Old video of Luka Doncic praising Thunder guard Lu Dort goes viral

"He's a great defender. I think he's one of the top-three defenders in the NBA. It's really tough to play against him. He's been doing an incredible job since I've been here."

Luka Doncic

The clip making its way across social media platforms is a postgame media session following an October 29, 2022 matchup between the Thunder and Mavericks where OKC won in overtime by a final score of 117-111.

In said matchup, Doncic finished with a triple-double, registering 31 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists which, on the surface, suggests a magnificent performance. However, with Dort serving as the primary defender on him, Doncic went on to shoot a putrid 8-of-23 from the floor (34.8 percent) and missed all six of his attempts from beyond the arc.

The vast majority of his scoring production came from the charity stripe, where he converted on 15 of his 19 attempts. However, considering Dort had five personals, some of which were not even on the perennial All-Star, this scoring output was far from an accurate representation of the Thunder stud's defensive acumen.

With coach Mark Daigneault suggesting that Dort will play a major role in the Thunder's defensive efforts on Doncic, it will be fun to see how his presence will affect the MVP candidate's play for, frankly, slowing him down is undoubtedly one of the main keys to winning this series.