Beal made it his mission to get physical with Doncic in the fourth quarter. That resulted in several chippy exchanges between the stars, who talked trash and repeatedly bumped and shoved each other, eventually leading to double technical fouls with 1:09 remaining and Beal’s ejection when he dismissed that call with a wave.
However, there were no hard feelings between Doncic and Beal after the Mavs’ season-opening 108-100 win at the American Airlines Center. They instead swapped postgame compliments via the media.
“That was great. That’s what basketball is about,” said Doncic, whose 34 points were one shy of his career high and the most ever by a player younger than 21 in a season opener, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. “You don’t have no friends on the court. I respect him for doing that. Everybody’s saying he’s only a fancy player. No, he showed he’s great on defense, too. He showed that there, so I respect it for him.”
Beal, who had 19 points and nine assists but was only 7-of-25 from the floor and 1-of-11 from 3-point range, exchanged hugs and pleasantries with Doncic before leaving the court after his ejection.
“It was just hoops,” Beal said. “You could see when I got kicked out, he came up and was the first one to dap me, so he understood what it was. We weren’t fighting. It was just basketball, trying to frustrate him. He was kicking our butts, so you’ve got to do something.”
Doncic, last season’s Rookie of the Year, dominated the first three quarters to lead the Mavs to a 23-point lead. He had 32 points in 28 minutes by the end of the third quarter, hitting 12-of-18 shots from the floor, swishing half of his eight 3-point attempts and driving into the lane for the rest of his buckets.
With Beal harassing him with the help of occasional double-teams, Doncic only managed to attempt one shot from the floor in the fourth quarter. His two points in the final quarter came on free throws after Beal had been ejected.
“He had it going all night,” Beal said. “He’s a tough guard. He’s a physical guy. He can get any shot pretty much that he wants, and I think we let him a little bit too comfortable. Granted, he was able to draw fouls in that aspect, but I think it was still a lot of 3s he got, a lot of straight-line drives. I just wanted to frustrated him a little bit.”
Beal praised Doncic for being “very mature for his age” and joked that Doncic has “been a pro since he was 10 probably,” a reference to the Mavs’ stars four seasons of experience with Real Madrid’s top club in Liga ACB and the EuroLeague before entering the NBA.
Doncic, the youngest MVP in EuroLeague history in his last season with Real Madrid, also referenced that experience when making the point that he’s accustomed to being defended physically.
“I got used to it last year — and the year before and the year before,” Doncic said. “I’m used to it.”
While Beal had no postgame issues with Doncic, he wasn’t pleased with the ejection by referee Jonathan Sterling. Beal didn’t argue on the court, but he said that he planned to discuss it with the NBA office Thursday in hopes of getting the second technical foul rescinded.
“His first technical foul was as a result of a double technical foul for a physical taunt with the opponent, Doncic,” crew chief Ken Mauer told a pool reporter. “They both came together, bumped each other, so my partner calls a double technical foul. Then Bradley Beal then proceeds to look at that official, and in protest of that call, he waves him off, which is a respect for the game guideline and a technical foul, an automatic technical foul. We’re taught to give a technical foul, so that was his second technical foul. So, it’s the double technical foul for the taunt, second one for the wave off to the referee.”