After three quarters on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the first round series between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers, Mavericks star Luka Doncic was 16/29 from the field, including 6/9 from three-point range with 40 points and 12 assists, and the Dallas Mavericks had an 89-75 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
However, in the fourth quarter, Doncic and the Mavericks went cold. Doncic shot 1/8 from the field, including 0/3 from downtown, and finished with only two points in the quarter. The Clippers were able to cut the lead to one late in the game, but with a chance to take the lead, Nicolas Batum would miss a layup with 39 seconds left, and after two Tim Hardaway Jr. free throws, Kawhi Leonard would airball a corner three, and the Mavericks would defeat the Clippers 105-100 at Staples Center to take a 3-2 series.
The Mavericks have won three straight in Los Angeles and can close out the series in Game 6 on Friday night in Dallas.
Doncic finished the game shooting 17/37 from the field with 42 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds, and Hardaway Jr. had a bounce-back game with 20 points. Paul George had 23 points for the Clippers, Reggie Jackson and Leonard added 20 points apiece.
Doncic had a monster game and became the first player since 1997-98 to record 40-plus points and 10-plus assists through three quarters of a playoff game. But according to him, he could have been better.
“I mean, I got to play way better,” Doncic said. “I missed a lot of shots, some layups that I should make. But it wasn’t just me, man. It was the whole team, the energy, Boba(Boban Marjanovic) was unbelievable, DP, Dwight Powell, with his energy, KP(Porzingis) with a big shot, Timmy(Hardaway Jr.) with a big shot. The whole team was just there bringing up the energy.
Doncic was battling a neck strain in Game 4, and he clearly looked uncomfortable, but that was not the case in Game 5, and he explained why.
“The most important thing was rest and, like I said, massage,” Doncic said. “Today, I was feeling way better.”
After Dallas won the first two games in Los Angeles, you thought the Clippers were done, and after the Clippers won the next two in Dallas, you thought the Mavericks had blown the series.
Now, following their win in Game 5, Dallas seems to be in control. Time will judge that, but it will be fascinating to see how the Clippers respond in Game 6.