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.
For the first eight minutes of Game 3, it appeared the Dallas Mavericks were going to blowout the Clippers and take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round series. After a Jalen Brunson floater, the Mavericks led 30-11. Luka Doncic, who had 11 points in the first quarter, went to the bench with Dallas up 17. With Doncic on the bench, the Clippers went on a 14-2 run to cut the lead seven, and ultimately, the Clippers trailed 34-31 after one quarter.
The Clippers would take the lead in the second quarter and lead 63-61 at the break. In the fourth, Los Angeles would take a 10-point lead with just over five minutes left and win Game 3 1118-108 at American Airlines Center.
Dallas still leads the series 2-1.
This was the Mavericks’ first loss of the season when leading after the first quarter. Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Mavericks were the first team in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55) to go undefeated in games in which they were ahead after the first quarter over the course of a regular season.
Kawhi Leonard scored 18 of his 36 points in the first half, and Paul George had 22 of his 29 points in the first half, while Luka Doncic had a postseason career-high 44 points(26 in the first half), including seven threes, to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists.
“We obviously got off to a very fast start, and then they climbed back into it,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “They shot it great. Their two superstars had great games. They rode those guys; they played very well. We’re going to have to play better in Game 4.”
Dallas will have to get more out of their star, Kristaps Porzingis, who shot 3/10 for the field and scored only nine points in 34 minutes. The Clippers went small at times in this game, and Porzingis and the Mavericks could not take advantage of it.
“I definitely can do a better job of sealing the guards when I have (a) guard on me,” Porzingis said. “Also, I have to score on those post-ups that I have. I had great looks, and I just missed shots, and sometimes it’s just like that; you miss shots.”
Clippers head coach Ty Lue applauded his team’s play on Friday night, including the play of his two stars, Leonard and George.
“I thought PG [Paul George] really carried us in the first half, and then Kawhi [Leonard] in the second half really tipped over the game,” Lue said. “That is what we needed from those two guys. Reggie [Jackson] chipped in. Marcus [Morris Sr.] made some shots. [Rajon] Rondo came in the whole second half to pick up Luka full court and wear him down. It was a total team effort, but like I said, Kawhi and PG really put us on their shoulders.”
George added: “We took the punch. We didn’t have a choice. We didn’t have a choice but to rally together, stay strong, stay together and continue fighting. That’s what the series is now. We are down 2-1. We’ve got to fight to even the series back up and take home-court advantage back.”
Dallas is still in control of this series, but they need to win Game 4. Give the Clippers a lot of credit, especially after being down early.
It all comes down to what happens in Game 4 on Sunday. If the Clippers win Game 4, they get home-court advantage back and would have two of the final three games in their building. Conversely, if the Mavericks win Game 4, they take a commanding 3-1 lead.
So, again, it all comes down to what happens on Sunday in Dallas.
– Brunson came off the bench and had 14 points on 5-8 shooting (4-6 from deep) in 22 minutes for Dallas, while Maxi Kleber added 14 points on 5-9 shooting (4-7 from deep) in 35 minutes.
-The Mavericks welcomed a near-capacity crowd back to American Airlines Center for the first time since March 2019 and had 17,705 fans in attendance. This was Dallas’ first home playoff game in five years(2016).
“It was amazing, not only the first quarter, but the whole game,” Doncic said about the crowd. “They are amazing, I really appreciate everybody who came. I hope they come again in two days, they are amazing. I wish we would have given them a win, but we will try it on Sunday and I hope it will be the same energy.”
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.
In the final week of the NBA season, both the Dallas Mavericks(40-29) and Memphis Grizzlies(36-33) have a lot to play for. Dallas is trying to hold onto at least the sixth seed in the Western Conference to avoid the Play-In Tournament, while the Grizzlies are trying to move up to the eighth seed, which would mean they would have to win one game to advance in the Play-In Tournament.
The Grizzlies defeated the Pelicans 115-110 on Monday night, so you would think Dallas, who was off on Monday night, would be the fresher team, but that was not the case.
Behind Ja Morant’s 24 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, and Dillon Brooks’ 22 points, Memphis routed the Mavericks 133-104 at FedExForum.
Memphis had seven players in double-figures on Tuesday night and outscored Dallas by 11 points in the third quarter to take complete control of the game. The Grizzlies led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter.
For Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way with 19 points, and Willie Cauley-Stein had a season-high 16 points. Luka Doncic struggled against the Grizzlies. He shot 4/16 from the field and had 12 points. Doncic also had five turnovers.
“I wasn’t myself,” Doncic said after the game. “We’ve got to bounce back, but that game was obviously one of the worst I’ve ever played. I’ve got to be better than that.”
According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the game changed in the first quarter when the Grizzlies went on a 11-2 run to close the quarter, and Memphis led 28-27 after one.
“Obviously, we didn’t play well over the course of 48 minutes,” Carlisle said. “A key part of this was the way we ended the first quarter… They were able to finish the quarter, I think, on a 9-0 run to take the lead. They got the momentum from there, and we were never really able to get it back. Very disappointing loss, but we gotta get ready for tomorrow.”
This was a game Dallas needed to have and to play as poorly as they did, was disappointing. Dallas and Portland have identical records, but Portland is now the fifth seed, while Dallas has fallen to six. Dallas has a 1.0 game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers.
The good news for Dallas is they are expected to get Kristaps Porzingis back on Wednesday against the Pelicans, who missed his seventh consecutive game due to a knee injury. However, they will be without JJ Redick, who left the game in the third quarter with a right heel injury and did not return. Redick missed 21 games with that same injury.
All is not lost, but Dallas needs to bounce back against New Orleans if they want to continue to be in a position to avoid the Play-In Tournament.
On Friday night in Dallas, one team was playing for the playoffs, and the other team was playing for pride, and the team that was playing for the playoffs, was the team that dominated.
The Dallas Mavericks(39-28) led the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-46) by 25 points at halftime and cruised to a 110-90 victory at American Airlines Center. Dallas continues to keep their hold on the fifth seed and has a one-game lead over the sixth-seeded Blazers and a two-game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers.
Dallas has won three straight and nine of their last 11, while Cleveland dropped its ninth straight.
Luka Doncic had 24 points and eight rebounds; Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points for Dallas. For Cleveland, Collin Sexton had a game-high 27 points.
The Mavericks clinched the 2020-21 Southwest Division title. This is the fourth division title in franchise history and the first since 2009-10.
While winning your division does not mean as much as it once did, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is happy with the accomplishment.
“Listen, I think it’s something that’s always worthwhile,” he said. “It shows that you’re one of the better teams and certainly the best team in your region of the league and all of that kind of stuff. It’s a rivalry division; the southwest has been — talk about San Antonio, Houston, Memphis — these teams have a history of a lot of rivalry stuff, a lot of playoff stuff. It’s big. It’s big, and we’ll take it. Like I said, it’s important to get this win, try to get through this game unscathed, and get ready for Sunday.”
After starting the season 9-14, the Mavericks have gone 30-14 since, which Doncic discussed after the game.
“We just weren’t ourselves at the beginning,” he said. “We had a couple of new guys, and we had to get to know each other. But since then, I think we are playing pretty well.”
Dallas will play the Cavs again on Sunday in Cleveland, and while this another game Dallas should win, it’s always challenging to beat a team twice in a back-to-back situation, so the Mavericks cannot take anything for granted.
-The Mavericks improved to a perfect 24-0 when leading after the first quarter and a perfect 13-0 when holding their opponent to under 100 points. The Mavs are also now 36-2 when they build a double-digit lead at any point in the game.
-This was the 833rd win of Coach Rick Carlisle’s career, which moves him into sole possession of 15th place on the NBA’s all-time wins list. Carlisle passed Cotton Fitzsimmons (832) to move into the top 15 and currently sits at 833-687 (.548) for his career.
-Cedi Osman had 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists tonight. This is Osman’s fourth career game, recording 20+ points, five-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists.
Fortunately for the Dallas Mavericks(36-28), they do not have to play the Sacramento Kings(27-37) again in the regular season or the playoffs as Dallas fell again to the Kings at home 111-99 on Sunday night.
This season, Dallas has lost three times to the Kings in less than a month, including two times in Dallas.
After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, who was ejected late in the fourth quarter after receiving his second technical foul, made no excuses for the loss.
“There’s no excuses,” he said. “On paper, forget Sacramento’s record. They’ve got some very talented guys down there. They’ve been a tough matchup for us, and we didn’t play well enough.”
Luka Doncic, who, like Carlisle, was ejected late in the fourth after he picked up two technicals on Sunday night, had 30 points, six rebounds and six assists against Sacramento, is not sure why the Mavericks can’t beat the Kings.
“I don’t really know,” Doncic said. “I guess it’s not a good matchup, but we just got to move to the next one. We got bigger things ahead of us.”
According to Jalen Brunson, who came off the bench and scored 17 points, Sacramento is a talented team.
“Unique team, a lot of talented guys,” Brunson said. “It’s really hard to pinpoint what exactly it is, but one thing I know for sure is we matched their energy a little too late. We had spurts where we matched their energy, but they had a lot of energy tonight. Part of that is one me coming off the bench being able to be a spark. I need to be able to match their energy. I messed up on the court. They are a unique team.”
Going forward, Dallas has to worry about Doncic. The two-time All-Star has 15 technicals this season, and one more technical means he will be suspended for one game. However, Doncic says that won’t happen.
“I won’t get another one,” Doncic said. “Don’t worry.”
With the loss, Dallas is now tied with the Lakers and Blazers for the fifth seed in the Western Conference. However, because Dallas holds the tiebreaker, they are still the fifth seed.
This was a bad loss for Dallas, but as Doncic said, they have to move forward, which starts on Tuesday night when they travel to Miami to battle the Heat.
In Dallas’ loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was not happy with the team’s start. Dallas(34-27) trailed by as many as 18 points in the first quarter and trailed by 14 after one quarter. According to Carlisle, the poor start hurt the team.
On Tuesday night against the Warriors(31-31), in the second half of a back-to-back, Dallas got off to the start Carlisle wanted. Dallas led 36-12 after the first quarter and had a 28-0 run from the first into the second quarter. The Mavericks led 62-29 at halftime and would defeat the Warriors 133-103 at Chase Center.
Luka Doncic had a game-high 39 points for Dallas. For the Warriors, Steph Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, and Mychal Mulder added 26.
The Warriors went nine minutes and 38 seconds without a point in the first half and was held to a season-low of 29 points in any half. After the game, Carlisle gave all the credit to assistant coach Jamahl Mosley.
“It was a terrific game plan by Jamahl Mosley,” Carlisle said. “Guys just did a great job.”
According to Doncic, the Mavericks were angry coming into this game against Golden State because of how poorly they played against the Kings on Tuesday night.
“Everybody was pissed off because we didn’t play the right way yesterday,” Doncic said.
Dallas was dominant on Tuesday night, and according to Elias Sports, the Mavericks’ 28-0 run is tied for the second-longest scoring run by any team over the last 20 seasons and the longest since the Knicks went on a 28-0 run against the Raptors on Nov. 22, 2017.
After the game, Doncic acknowledged that he did not realize the team had gone on a 28-0 run.
“I did not know that,” Doncic said. “That’s nice. I didn’t know that… I was watching the scoreboard; I had no idea it was 28-0.”
This was a complete performance for the Mavericks and a great bounce back after Tuesday’s loss to the Kings. Dallas continues to have a hold on the sixth seed. They have a one-game lead over the seventh-seeded Blazers, and they are two games behind the Lakers for the fifth-seed.
Dallas will end their three-game road trip on Thursday night against the Pistons.
The Dallas Mavericks(33-27) came into Monday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings(25-36) with revenge on their mind, These two teams met last Sunday in Dallas, and the Kings, who led by as many as 17 points in the first half, defeated Dallas 121-107.
On Monday night, both teams came into this game looking a little different. The Mavericks were without Kristaps Porzingis(ankle), Josh Richardson(hamstring), and JJ Redick(heel), while the Kings were without their leading scorer De’Aaron Fox(Health and Safety Protocols), but the Kings had just a little more as they defeated the Mavericks 113-106 at Golden 1 Center to snap the Mavericks’ three-game winning streak.
Richaun Holmes led Sacramento with 24 points, Harrison Barnes added 19, and rookie Tyrese Haliburton had 14 points and 10 assists. Luka Doncic’s 24 points paced Dallas, and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke chipped in with 19 points apiece.
Just like in their previous matchup, the Kings got off to another good start. Sacramento led by as many as 18 points in the first quarter and had a 59-52 lead at halftime. Dallas would take two-point leads in the third and fourth quarters, but Sacramento would pull away late.
According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the bad start led to the loss on Monday night.
“Another poor start really did us in,” Carlisle said after the game. “Just gotta be way better to start the game. The last three quarters were obviously better, but this is very disappointing tonight. We got a quick turnaround and a tough game tomorrow.”
With all that Dallas is playing for right now, keeping the sixth seed and the possibility of the fifth seed, this loss with unacceptable, especially when Sacramento does not have one of their best players.
Dallas has an opportunity to bounce back on Tuesday night as they continue their three-game road trip against the Warriors.
After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks(33-26) knew that defeating the Lakers(35-25) in the second game of their two-game set at American Airlines Center would be difficult on Saturday night, especially without Kristaps Porzingis(ankle).
The Lakers started fast and led by as much as 17 points in the second quarter and took a 58-46 lead into halftime.
Los Angeles did a great job of trapping Luka Doncic in the first half, and he had three turnovers in the second quarter. Dallas made adjustments, and Doncic, who finished the game with 18 points, had 10 of his 13 assists in the second half, and Dwight Powell, who was 11-12 from the field, scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half as the Mavericks defeated the Lakers 108-93 to sweep the two-game set.
The Lakers, who were led by Ben McLemore’s 20 points, were without LeBron James(ankle) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope(ankle). Dennis Schroder added 16 points and 10 assists.
Basketball is a game of adjustments, and the Mavericks made adjustments, which opened things up for Doncic and Powell.
“We weren’t spaced well enough in the first half,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “In the second half, our spacing was better. Our angles were better. He was just really on point in the second half. The things that we changed made the game a lot easier for him and Dwight [Powell] and Willie [Cauley-Stein] and all of the guys rolling. That was big.”
According to Doncic, who experienced double teams in Europe, the wider NBA court made it easier to break the traps.
“I mean, they were double-teaming me,” he said. “In Europe, I used to do this a lot, and I know how it goes, but here the floor is wider, and so it’s kind of easier.”
Powell added: ‘”We’ve got to make ourselves available. We know he’s going to make the right reads, so we’ve got be ready for whatever opportunity comes our way, whether it’s a shot or a drive or another pass to off the assist, or whatever it may be. So the biggest need is showing up your hand when they’re sending two guys at him, having his back and taking advantage of those opportunities.”
This was Powell’s third game as a starter for Dallas, and the six-year veteran, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last January, is back to his previous form, according to Carlisle.
“Dwight [Powell] ‘s one of the best rollers I’ve ever seen in this league,” Carlisle said. “He has great timing; he has great feel; he has great hands. He’s not super tall, but he really gets up. This is also a strong testament to the amount of work he put in over the last year-and-a-half-plus to recover from an injury that is extremely difficult for high-level athletes. But I look out there now, and I don’t see any difference now from the Dwight Powell before the injury, and that just speaks to an amazing amount of work put in.”
With the win, Dallas is in sole possession of the sixth seed in the West and moved to 1.5 games of the fifth-seeded Lakers. Dallas wants to avoid the Play-In Tournament, so this was a big sweep for the Mavericks.
Dallas is on a three-game winning streak and begin a three-game road trip starting on Monday night against the Sacramento Kings.
-The 17-point deficit the Mavericks overcame was the largest comeback of the season.
-The Mavericks improved to 17-5 when Doncic records a double-double and 12-1 when he records between 10 and 14 assists (the Mavs are weirdly 0-4 when he gets over 14 assists).