The Dallas Mavericks finally broke out in a big way on Sunday against the Clippers. Dallas(1-2) dominated the Clippers from start to finish and led 77-27 at halftime. Yes, Dallas led by 50 points at halftime. Ultimately, they would defeat Los Angeles 124-73 at Staples Center to get their first victory of the season.
This was the first time these two teams met since the playoffs last season, where the Clippers defeated the Mavericks 4-2 in their first-round matchup.
Dallas’ 51-point win marks the first win by 50-plus in the NBA since 2018. In addition, Dallas became the first team to hold a team to 27-or-fewer points in the opening half in over three seasons.
“Maybe never. Maybe when I was really, really young. I remember,” Luka Doncic, who had a game-high 24 points on Sunday, said when asked if he was ever up by 50 at halftime. “But, I think we showed who we are. People judged us like on the first two games of the season. It’s a long season.”
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was happy with the team’s effort on Sunday and thinks it’s the best he has seen from his guys this season.
“This was obviously our best effort, our best performance of all the games. Preseason and regular season,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had some uneven effort in the first couple of games. Guys were aware of it. They knew the caliber of opponent today, and they just decided that they were going to be the hardest playing team in the gym.”
Mavericks’ Josh Richardson, who poured in 21 points, added: “We came in with more of a sense of urgency.”
The Clippers(2-1) were without Kawhi Leonard due to a mouth laceration. They shot 24% from the field in the first half, including 1-19 from three-point range.
Los Angeles played on Christmas day and defeated the Nuggets on the road, so many of the Clippers’ players celebrated Christmas the next day. According to Paul George, who led the Clippers with 15 points on Sunday, the team may have been sluggish because of the Christmas holiday.
“I take full responsibility,” George said after the game. “I enjoyed my Christmas Day yesterday. Today just popped up on me a little too fast. I take full ownership of that. It’ll be a different situation come next game. We’ll be ready.”
In a long NBA season, teams will play like the way Dallas played on Sunday, and teams will play like the Clippers did on Sunday. Games like this happen.
Dallas needed this breakout performance in the worst way after losing the first two games of their three-game road trip. Now, it’s time to get back to Dallas and get ready for the home-opener against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.