Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talks Luka Doncic ahead of Game 1 vs Mavericks

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

With the upcoming Western Conference Semifinals matchup between the OKC Thunder and Dallas Mavericks rapidly approaching, fans and media pundits have been quite vocal about their excitement to see superstars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic going head-to-head for a best-of-seven playoff series.

Two of the best guard talents in the league today and true contenders for this year's MVP award, all eyes will be on how both squads plan to slow down, or at the very least contain the other's cornerstone.

While there's really no way of shutting either one of them down, as both have proven to be virtually unstoppable when on the hardwood, during a recent media session Gilgeous-Alexander acknowledged where he and his Thunder cohort's mindset currently is on the optics of scheming for Doncic ahead of Tuesday's Game 1.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talks Thunder's plan to guard Luka Doncic

"It'll be a full-team effort for sure. He is who he is for a reason and not one guy slows him down. We have one of the best, if not the best perimeter defender in the NBA [in Lu Dort] and we'll lean on him a little bit -- he knows that every night. But we know it's a full team effort and it's going to take a lot of us to slow him down and get the job done."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Though the Thunder managed to get the best of the Mavericks during their regular season series by winning three of the four contests played, it mustn't be overlooked that two of their wins came with Doncic sidelined due to injury. The last time these two teams squared off with the guard in the lineup, he went on to drop 32 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds en route to a 146-111 blowout loss.

On top of this, the aforementioned 35-point drubbing was the only time in which both he and star backcourt running mate Kyrie Irving both took on Oklahoma City together.

While facing off against the fifth-seeded Mavs certainly has its pros, confidence in a Thunder advancement is nowhere near as strong as during their round one matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Round two will inarguably be the hardest challenge Mark Daigneault's has had to face during their historic 2023-24 campaign. Hopefully, they can once again find a way to prove to the masses why they're deserving of being considered a legitimate title favorite.