For the first two games of their first-round series with the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers have not had an answer for Luka Doncic. In Game 1, Doncic had a triple-double with 31 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, and in Game 2, Doncic was just as good and maybe even better.
Doncic had 39 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 28 points, including six threes, as the Mavericks defeated the Clippers 127-121 at Staples Center on Tuesday night. The Mavericks have a commanding 2-0 lead as they come home for Games 3 and 4 starting on Friday.
Doncic’s numbers have been historic. He has 256 points, 76 rebounds, and 70 assists in his first eight career postseason games(all against the Clippers). According to Elias Sports, Doncic is the first player in NBA history to record 250-plus points, 70-plus rebounds, and 70-plus assists through a player’s first eight career postseason games.
It did not matter who the Clippers put on Doncic, he was able to get anywhere he wanted on the floor, and according to Doncic, no matter who is guarding him, he has to be aggressive.
“They have some good defenders, like PG(Paul George, and Kawhi(Leonard), two of the best perimeter defenders,” Doncic said. “You’ve just got to be aggressive. It’s playoffs. You’ve got to be aggressive.”
Dallas shot 58% from the field, including 52% from downtown on Tuesday night. In Game 1, they made 17 threes, and in Game 2, the Mavericks made 18 threes.
Mavericks head Rick Carlisle discussed what he saw from the team’s offense.
“I like the recognition. I like the offensive energy,” Carlisle said. “We are striking a pretty good balance of inside/outside. I got a look at the metrics of it for the first couple of games to get a better idea. You can always attack the rim more in the playoffs. I think that will be an emphasis for both teams going into Game 3.”
Kawhi Leonard had 30 of his game-high 41 points in the first half, and Paul George added 28 points for the Clippers.
Only four teams in NBA history have won a series after losing the first two games at home. However, despite the odds, Clippers head coach Ty Lue says this series is not over.
“I’m not concerned,” Lue said. “They got to win four games, and you come in on the opposing team’s floor, and you play. There’s no pressure; you can make shots because you just try to come in and steal a game or steal two games. But now they got to go home and try to keep up the same shooting. It’s easy to come out on the road and do that when there’s no pressure on you, so we’ll see in Game 3.”
Lue is right. This series is not over. Dallas has to keep the pressure on the Clippers in Games 3 and 4 because a series can change quickly.
-Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 20 points against the Clippers on Tuesday night, was fined $50,000 for violating the league’s rules prohibiting players from going into any bar, club, lounge, or similar establishment.
After the game, Porzingis discussed what happened:
“I’ll start off by saying what happened is a mistake on my part,” he said. “I was honestly a little bit confused with the protocols and made a mistake and paid for it. And I’m glad we’re able to get the win tonight, and I was able to play. So I’m looking forward to what’s coming, but it’s a mistake on my part.”
–Mavs’ legend Dirk Nowitzki was at Staples Center on Tuesday night. The Mavs are 2-0 when Nowitzki has been in the building this season:
“2-0 when Dirk gets in the building,” Hardaway jr. said. “I’ll tell you that. Dirk, we saw Dirky earlier in the day, we knew he was there, and we were happy we were able to pull out a victory.”