When you go on the road to start a playoff series, the goal is to get at least one, and on Saturday in Los Angeles against the Clippers, the Dallas Mavericks did just that.
Behind a triple-double from Luka Doncic, who had 31 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds and Tim Hardway Jr’s. 21 points, the Mavericks defeated the Clippers 113-103 in Game 1 of their first-round series.
Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Doncic scored 21 of his 31 points in the first half as the Mavericks led 60-55 at halftime. Dallas maintained that lead in the third and led 86-80 after three quarters. Los Angeles would take their first lead since the second quarter early in the fourth, but Dallas would take the lead for good when Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 18 points, hit a three with just under three minutes left in the game to put Dallas ahead 103-100.
“I just know, again, they’re going to send two guys at Luka, and we’ve just got to be ready to shoot,” Finney-Smith, who made four threes against the Clippers, said after the game. “Most times in the game, people take the ball out of L.D.’s(Doncic) hands, and I just know us four have got to be ready to shoot.”
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was happy with the team’s effort on Saturday.
“Obviously, it’s an important game for us,” Carlisle said. “It’s a great effort, great win. Start to the game was important, gave us momentum… When they came back and took the lead in the second half, we really exhibited great poise, and we stayed aggressive. That’s what you got to do in a playoff series.”
Back to Doncic, he was held to one point in the fourth quarter as the Clippers tried to get the ball out of his hands, which he discussed after the game.
“I mean, they were double-teaming, first of all, on every possession,” Doncic said. “My legs were kind of like sore, but we won the game, man. That’s all that matters to me. If I have 0 or 15 points, that’s what’s important.”
Kristaps Porzingis, who was 4/13 from the field and finished with 14 points on Saturday, knows the Clippers will make adjustments in Game 2 on Tuesday night.
“I had an off night tonight, and we were still able to get the win,” he said. “All the guys stepped up. Luka had a huge game. I’m sure they’re going to make some adjustments, but we’re also going to get better, and it’s going to be a fun second game.”
Dallas got a huge win on Saturday, but there is a lot of basketball left in this series. It should be interesting to see how the Mavericks respond in Game 2. Will Dallas be happy with a split, or we’ll play with the same sense of urgency as they did in Game 1? We’ll find out on Tuesday night.
-Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points, and Paul George added 23.
-Dallas was undefeated(27-0) in the regular season when leading after the first quarter, and that trend continued in the playoffs as the team led 33-30 after one quarter on Sunday.