The Los Angeles Clippers (1-2) were able to get back in the series and defeat the Dallas Mavericks (2-1) 118-108 last night at American Airlines Center. Things did not look good for the Clippers early as Dallas had not cooled off. They continued their blisteringly hot shooting, and got out to a 19 point lead in the first quarter. At that point it looked like the Mavs were on their way to a blowout win and a stranglehold on the series. They once again won the first quarter. If their pattern of getting W’s after winning the first continued they would be on their way to a 3-0 lead in the first round. However, to the Clips’ credit, they hung in there. They fought and clawed their way back into the game, eventually taking a lead into halftime.
They made the necessary defensive adjustments which included giving Terance Mann minutes and running a small ball lineup. Eventually that led to a double digit lead. The Mav’s did not go down easily. Luka Doncic had another monster game of 44 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. As a team they made 20 out of 39 3 point attempts. That was a lot to overcome, but the Clippers somehow managed to do so. Which should help boost their confidence considerably going in to the next game. Marcus Morris Sr., who had been struggling mightily from the field in the series, was able to finally knock down some of his patented corner 3 pointers late in the contest which were crucial in maintaining the Clipper’s lead.
This is the level of intensity, focus, and attention to detail the Clippers are going to need to keep up in order to tie this series up on Sunday night. After falling in the first two games of the series head coach Ty Lue, and Paul George were both quoted as saying they were not worried. I on the other hand am still fretting. Taking two in a row on the road in the playoffs is a tall task to say the least. This was a stressful game to watch, and I was absolutely mentally exhausted after it was over. Even so, I cannot wait for the next game.
STAR OF THE GAME
Kawhi Leonard and his 36 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks. A lot of criticism has gone Kawhi’s way after the previous two losses, despite him playing well. Kawhi silenced those critics, albeit only temporarily, as he was able to dominate this game throughout. Not only did he make 13 out of 17 shots, but he was out there hustling his tail off on the defensive end. He is going to need to repeat that level of play. Or even step it up a notch somehow, if his team is going to tie up the series on Sunday.
Luka Doncic. Although the Clippers were able to come away with the win, Luka had another monster game. The Clippers were able to make adjustments defensively as they were able to contain the supporting cast of the Mavericks. But Luka continues to embarrass them. If they can just figure something out in order to slow him down, the Clippers will be able to wrench control of the series in their favor. It may be impossible though because it seems that Luka cannot be stopped, you can only hope to maybe contain him.
Terance Mann and his 4 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks off the bench. His state line may not jump off the page but his minutes were crucial in getting the Clippers the win. He had not been playing much the previous 2 games, but needing to change some things up, Ty Lue ran him for 19 big minutes last night. His hustle and defensive tenacity absolutely helped the Clippers go from a 19 point deficit to a 10 point win. At some point you just knew this kid was going to help the Clips get a playoff win, and last night he did just that.
Game#4 vs Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, May 30th at 6:30PM Pacific
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Written by Stewart Rau