To date, Luka Doncic's "Cool Hand Luka" moniker has spoken more to his superb shooting and playmaking than his demeanor. That much was obvious in Sunday's 110-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings, when the 20-year-old Dallas Mavericks forward drew his second technical foul in three games for showing up the referees.
Driving past Kings guard Buddy Hield late in the first quarter, Doncic appeared to have his man beat despite a bit of contact in the paint. However, the Slovenian's lay-in missed its mark and no foul call was made in his favor. Incensed, Doncic punched the air in apparent disgust.
After the game, Doncic conceded that he could be a little more restrained when dealing with the officials.
"Yeah, for sure. But my thing is, I'm passionate for the game," Doncic said, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "I want to win, and I just sometimes get out of control, because I want to win the whole time. I'm competitive. You can ask my family. Even if it's not basketball, if it's anything, I'm so competitive. But, yeah, I've got to work on that for sure.
"I know how to (approach officials), but like I say, I'm passionate. I know a lot of times I'm wrong. Persons are wrong sometimes, and I've just got to learn to calm myself down and go to the next play."
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle likened the rough handling of Doncic to a certain former franchise player.
"Look, he's a guy that gets hit a lot," Carlisle said. "People take a lot of liberties on him. I was here for 11 years with Dirk Nowitzki, who people constantly took shots at, were trying to get physical with, trying to distract him, everything else.
"Everybody in the league is trying to do it with Doncic, too. He's tough. He can handle all of it, but when he comes over to the bench and he's got scratches and blood marks on his arms and hands, I know there's something there."