In a historic night for the opposing star, the Clippers fall to the Mavericks 112-105.
In case there was any confusion, that star is none other than Luka Doncic, who proved his offensive potency once again: an attribute that the Clippers have become very accustomed to through the last couple of postseasons. Luka personally scored as much as the entire Clippers team through the first quarter, 28-28, off 10-for-13 shooting from the field and 7-for-10 shooting from the three point line. Yeah, you read that right. Through just one quarter.
Tonight, just six hours after a trade deadline that left the Clippers’ most noticeable hole (a backup point guard) unfilled, the trio of Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, and Amir Coffey showed their proficiency as distributors and offensive facilitators. Until the Clippers sign someone from the buyout market, the backup playmaking duties will likely fall to the committee of those three.
And if the Clippers were to win tonight, they had to match the star power of Doncic with production by committee. That philosophy of team contribution led to the Clippers shooting a higher percentage from three and dishing out more assists than the Mavericks in the first half, as well as keeping the deficit in the single digits in that time, despite Doncic’s 32 point eruption.
And while the Mavericks started out with some hot shooting from three at the first half of the third, the Clippers responded with increased tenacity driving to the rim in the latter half. After trailing by as many as 17 tonight, a Norman Powell three and a Terance Mann drive cut the deficit to just three, a minute into the fourth quarter.
After a back and forth four quarter, including cutting the lead to just five with a minute to go, a lack of offensive execution from the Clippers and a rebounding advantage from the Mavericks led to the ultimate defeat of Los Angeles.
With 40 seconds to go in the game, Luka Doncic officially eclipsed the 50-point mark. Despite his individual offensive brilliance tonight, this game was certainly winnable for the Clippers. A couple more shots made, a few more rebounds, a bit more familiarity with each other, and this game could have played out very differently. The Clippers lose this one, but will have a chance to retaliate as early as Saturday, when these two recent rivals will meet once again.