After winning the first two games of their first-round series against the Clippers in Los Angeles, the Dallas Mavericks appeared to be in complete control of this series. However, that was then; this is now.
Kawhi Leonard had 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Paul George chipped in with 20 points and nine rebounds as the Clippers routed the Mavericks on the road 106-81 in Game 4 to even the series at 2.
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
Luka Doncic, who was listed as questionable for Game 4 due to a cervical strain, was 9/24 from the field and finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and six assists on Sunday night. The 19 points was his lowest-scoring performance of the playoffs in his career.
Despite the injury, Doncic, who clearly was in pain, made no excuses after the game.
“I don’t think that matters right now,’ Doncic said. “We lost by 20, and injuries are part of basketball. I was 100%, but I played terrible. So, we just have to move on to the next one.”
While Doncic said he fine, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle disagreed. According to Carlisle, he hopes the few days off will help Doncic’s injury.
“He’s in pain,’ Carlisle said. “It appeared to me that he couldn’t turn left, could look to his left, couldn’t turn his head to the left. That’s difficult for a guy that relies on peripheral vision and basically has played his whole life with his head on a swivel. We’ve got to hope in the next couple of days that he can get better — hopefully substantially better.”
Not having Doncic at his best hurts the Mavericks, but give the Clippers a lot of credit; they turned things around in Dallas. They made adjustments. Ty Lue inserted Reggie Jackson in the starting lineup in Games 3, and he put Nicolas Batum in the starting lineup in Game 4. Both moves paid off for Los Angeles.
The Clippers are playing well right now, but Lue knows this series is far from over.
“We still haven’t done anything yet; it’s a good start for us going down 0-2 at home,” Lue said. “Coming out and being able to win two on their floor. So, now the series is tied up, and we’re going back home, and we’ll try and take care of home-court advantage. On Wednesday and just keep it going from there and continue to keep building momentum.”
Dallas had an excellent opportunity to seize control of this series, and they could not do it. Now, it’s the best of three. The Clippers have two of the final three games at home and have all the momentum. The Mavericks will need a healthy Doncic to be able to regroup and try to win this series.
-The Mavericks welcomed their largest crowd of the season to American Airlines Center with 17,761 fans in attendance on Sunday night.
-Kristaps Porzingis had a bounce back performance in Game 4. He had 18 points on 7-12 shooting to go with 5 rebounds and a block. Porzingis scored only nine points in Game 3.