The Los Angeles Clippers (0-1) were defeated 113-103 by the Dallas Mavericks (1-0) yesterday afternoon at Staples Center in the first game of the first round of the postseason. The Mavericks got out to a hot start, whereas the Clippers struggled from the field early. It was a tight game throughout, with neither team able to really pull away from the other. However, whenever the Clippers managed to gain a lead they would quickly relent it. They were only able to briefly create a lead as little as 4. This was a bad day shooting from 3 for the Clips. They went only 11 for 40, and it ended up costing them. Paul George looked like he did for much of the playoffs last year in the bubble once again. He struggled to go 8 for 18 from the field.
Kawhi Needs Help
Kawhi looked good and well rested with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. But, his performance was nowhere near enough. This was the matchup the Clippers seemingly wanted by tanking the last few games of the season. And they got what they asked for. The Mavericks’ win never really looked in doubt as they won every quarter. I was on the record as saying I did not want them to face this team in the first round. And this game showed exactly why. The Mav’s took a 1-0 series lead and now have gained homecourt advantage. They look set to get revenge for getting bounced out of the playoffs by the Clippers last year. As bad as the Clippers played yesterday though there was still a slight chance for them to win in the end. So there is hope.
I do not have a good feeling about this, but it should still prove to be a good series nonetheless.
STAR OF THE GAME
Luka Doncic and his triple double of 31 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks. This was a good game by Luka and he was far and away the best player on the court. He absolutely torched the Clippers the entire game. Doncic is not known as a prolific 3 point shooter. But he was making them yesterday, as he usually does against LAC. He made 5 out of 11 of them. The Clippers are going to have to make some adjustments on how to contain this future MVP if the want any chance of coming out of this series alive.
Defense. Defense was supposed to be a strength of this Clippers team. But they allowed the Mavericks to get comfortable and find a rhythm early. The Mavericks looked fluid on offense the entire contest. They shot 50 % from the field for the game and made 17 out of 36 3’s. Even when the Clippers would have a good defensive stand, they would concede an offensive rebound. The Clippers are going to have to step it up and show the type of lockdown team defense we know that they are capable of. We just didn’t see it enough yesterday.
Dorian Finney-Smith and his 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. If you are going to let Luka go off then you have to contain all the other ancillary players around him. The Clippers did not do that as they let a role player like Finney-Smith make 7 out of 9 shots. He is not known as a great outside shooter. But he made nearly all of his 3’s going 4 out of 5 from there. If the Mav’s continue to get performances like this from their supporting cast, I do not know what the Clips are going to do.
Games #2 v Dallas Mavericks, Tuesday May 25th at 7:30PM Pacific
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CLIPPERS GET EXACTLY WHAT CLIPPERS GET EXACTLY WHAT CLIPPERS GET EXACTLY WHAT
Written by Stewart Rau