Before heading back to LA, the Los Angeles Clippers (26-16) drop the second half of a 2-game series to the Dallas Mavericks (21-18) 105-89 at the American Airlines Center. Mavs’ superstar, Luka Doncic, sought revenge against the Clippers, scoring 42 points on 16 of 28 from the field, including 6 of 11 from deep. All 5 Mavs’ starters scored in double digits, helping out Luka by shooting 44% as a unit from three.
Josh Richardson set the tone on defense for Dallas, grabbing two steals off inbound plays early in the game, one of them coming off a three by himself. Rick Carlisle said post-game that those steals set the tone for the team defensively, and let everyone know that the Mavs were here to play last night. That defensive mentality led to the second lowest scoring output the Clippers produced this season.
The lowest, you ask? 73 points in a 51-point loss to guess who… the Dallas Mavericks.
Star of the Game
Luka Doncic’s 3-point shooting. Luka is known for his signature step-back three, which is glorious when it goes in. Although in reality, it is not a high percentage shot.
Last season, Luka shot 31.6% from behind the arc. This season, he’s making 35.7% of threes, including 6 out of 11 last night. Luka is more controlled when shooting step-back threes, and appears much smarter about when to launch them.
After witnessing a 42-point performance like this from Luka against the Clippers, this is a great sign for Mavs fans. The Clippers were the first team to ever knock Luka out of the playoffs. They are the only team he seeks revenge against right now. Great players remember the times they were knocked down, and Luka takes it personally every time he sees LAC on the schedule.
Dallas played an exceptional game last night, but one team stat didn’t sit right with me. Dallas averages nearly 23 assists a game, last night they had 14. While Luka has the ball in his hands most of the time, there are still four other players on the floor who need to move the ball. No one on the team had more than 2 assists. To make matters worse; two starters, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber, contributed zero dimes.
Mavs’ defense and 3-point shooting compensated for the lack of team ball movement. I don’t think this is too big of a deal in the future, but definitely a detail to keep in mind as the season progresses.
This team’s success in the playoffs will depend on the performance of the Mavs’ plethora of role players. If Dallas can squeeze what they got out of Josh Richardson last night in the playoffs, they can make a deep run. Josh’s 3 steals and 1 block provided a spark for the team’s energy last night, ultimately leading to the Clippers scoring only 89 points.
Vs. Trail Blazers, Friday March 19th, 9:00PM CT
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