The Mavs and the Clippers battled tonight in a game that went down to the wire and had plenty of lead changes. The game had plenty of runs and a lot of things to like for both sides. This series is going to be a fun one for sure and there are plenty of things to watch for in the next game. The Clippers knew this was going to be a tough matchup when they got Dallas, did they think that it would be hard enough to lose?
Kristaps was brought into Dallas to serve as an inside presence and to pair up to give Dallas another element with Luka. While in Dallas he has turned into a much better shooter as well and has been scoring a lot more as of late. In the game tonight he was no different scoring from all over the floor and bringing enough defense to give Dallas a boost. He was holding down the inside, which was huge for Dallas. The Mavs were forcing the Clippers to take longer shots, and that was the perfect plan to keep Dallas in the lead. KP got his first tech early in the game for waving his hand into the air after not agreeing with a call. A weak technical foul for him and one that was correctly called and quite obvious. The second tech came with 9 minutes to go in the third and Dallas having the lead. Morris and Luka were talking back and forth and eventually, Morris pushed Luke. KP’s reaction was to then come into the fight and although he didn’t push anyone, him coming in was enough to give him a technical. The official ruling was that Porzingis didn’t come in as a peacemaker and even escalated the fight therefore got a tech. As an NBA fan, I can look at this explanation and accept it, but I am not happy with it at all. The refs took this game away from the fans and the players with the ejection. Not to mention many people across the league disagree with the call and feel it did not warrant the ejection. Lebron James, one of the many names who spoke up and called the call “bogus” in a Twitter post. Overall the call has many different reactions and changed the game a lot. Kawhi was able to get inside more and without the presence of Porzingis, he got a bunch of buckets late. The Clippers also got a late edge in rebounding, which limited the Dallas offense too. Dallas had chances, a bunch of them, but their offense was just different. Without KP Dallas offense was transitioned into a lot more 3 pointers which didn’t help them get any closer. The Clippers would end up closing out and winning the game 118-110.
Shooting and Depth
Dallas being down 18-2 and coming out of that hole was due to their shooting and depth. Dallas shot the ball well in the first half especially making a lot of shots to get them right back in the game. It even helped them take the lead during the game which was huge in showing Dallas’s potential. When Dallas had that lead they were playing more comfortably and making more shots. Not to mention they got a few stops which showed real possibilities for Dallas. The Mavs have the ability to keep this series very interesting, even the loss in game one doesn’t disprove that. When KP was on the floor Dallas was winning and in control of the game. Dallas’s depth was also shown during different parts of the game. Kidd- Gilchrist contributed with two threes to boost Dallas into a lead early, Seth Curry played a pretty good game coming off the bench, and even Boban had a decent game. Although Boban didn’t get that many points, his presence and help led to points and stops for Dallas. Everyone on this team is ready to go and it really makes me wonder how different this game could have been with KP.
Luka Doncic ended the game with 42 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. He would then go after the game and call his performance terrible. Luka saw the statline and was more upset that he had 11 turnovers in the game. That is just straight up Luka, he is always looking to improve and never settles on what he has. He also has a point, 11 more possessions could have been the difference in winning and losing. The most important thing for Dallas is whether Luka is 100% ready when the next game starts. After slipping on the court Luka had to come out of the game for the Mavericks. While he would come back into the game later and play for the rest there is reason for concern. Luka down the stretch when the game was on the line was very tired and at times didn’t seem like he had enough energy for the final five minutes. That might be something for Dallas to monitor whether it has to do with the injury or Luka just stepping on the gas for far too long. Overall Luka‘s performance put him in exclusive company, only Lebron James and Magic Johnson have put up a 40-5-5 at a young age then Doncic. Something that Doncic will definitely remember as it was his first playoff game, but this clearly wasn’t a happy memory for him.
The Clippers would end up getting the win in this game, but there were a lot of problems for them. A lot of fingers were pointed at their chemistry issues because it was their first game with a fully healthy team. There were parts of the game that showed for sure, and even Paul George would admit to that. In the post-game interview PG would admit that they had some things wrong and they needed to fix it. They needed to move the ball better and that will just straight up come with time. The Clippers have no reason to worry, although Dallas should. They need to capitalize on these guys while they aren’t playing well and it has to be quick. The Clips will eventually come back and they will be a lot better when that day comes.
There is a chance
The Mavericks will have a lot of chances to take this series and move on into the second round. The Clippers play good defense and offense and are supposed to be a contender. Yesterday, however, the Mavs got the points when they needed them and stayed in the game consistently. They only had a major drop off, after the ejection which emphasizes how good they can be. Sure both teams struggled, but that is a part of the game. There are going to be off nights and the Clippers did not have that yesterday. The main point here of why Dallas really has a chance is thy were in control of this game. They went down early and started slowly coming back till they were in the lead and in control. From there they stayed there right up until the ejection which is a very tough pill for all Clippers fans to swallow.
Top picture from Dallas Morning News