The LA Clippers tried to make it two wins in two meetings this week against the Dallas Mavericks, but they had to settle for a split, after the Mavs won 105-89 Wednesday at American Airlines Center.
Paul George had a good night for LA, with 28 points and seven rebounds, but Luka Doncic was absolutely dominant with 42 points scored, and the Mavs were far better at execution on this night.
Ty Lue went with the same five that started in Monday’s win over Dallas, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined by Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac and Reggie Jackson. Both Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka were out for the night, both injured.
The Clippers wore their new gray uniforms while Dallas had their classic green unis, and Jeff Van Gundy noted on the broadcast that he thought the uniforms were too similar and were causing players to turn the ball over as a result. The teams traded buckets in the opening quarter, but LA had the upper hand through 12 minutes, with a 29-24 lead. Lou Williams had a series of good plays at the end of the quarter to help push the Clippers ahead.
Doncic found a scoring rhythm and started burying 3-pointers in the first half, and the home team went up by a narrow margin down the stretch. But the game remained close into halftime, Dallas leading 56-51, with Doncic leading all scorers with 22 points. George led the way for LA with 14 at the half.
The 3rd quarter followed a similar path, the Mavericks holding the edge but for the most part the Clippers staying within touching distance. But Dallas got some space down the stretch and ended the 3rd quarter with a 77-71 lead, although two 3-pointers by George in the last minute basically dragged LA back into the game.
But basically Doncic hit seemingly every stepback 3 and the Clippers were at sixes and sevens and struggled to hit shots, hold onto the ball and grab clean rebounds. It was a game of who could execute better and the Mavericks were far better this time around, the teams more or less switching roles from their last game against each other.
Luka from DEEP.. he's got 22 at the half on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/FDiBod6aOp— NBA (@NBA) March 18, 2021
The Clippers are scheduled to be back in action Saturday against the upstart Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center. Not only do the Hornets have exciting rookie LaMelo Ball, they are in a good spot in the Eastern Conference, currently sitting in 5th place, so this probably won’t be a cakewalk for the Clippers.