Mavericks’ Toughness Shines in Victory and Defeat


With six players scoring in double digits, the Dallas Mavericks bounced back in a 127-114 win against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2.

Let’s face it, every game in the playoffs is a must win game. After the tragic and quite disputable Porzingis ejection in the 3rd quarter of Game 1, the Mavericks were locked in for a revenge game. The Mavs started off firing and never looked back, holding the lead while keeping the Clippers out of making a late-game run. The Clippers are well known for their deep roster, but the Mavs’ bench should get credit where credit is due. Just look at this transition in the third quarter.

Bench Stats

Trey Burke was the biggest surprise off the bench with 16 points while shooting an efficient 7-11 from the field. Seth Curry made some big shots in the fourth quarter to maintain the lead, while Maxi Kleber posted a Marcus Smart stat line of 4-10-3 across 33 minutes and making big defensive stops down the stretch. The fan favorite Boban could not be stopped and created havoc in the paint while scoring 10 points and grabbing nine boards. He even got the postgame interview with the TNT crew.

Superstar Stats

Porzingis started where he left off in Game 1, shooting 3-4 from deep while posting 23 points. The record-shattering Luka Doncic, who broke the record for points scored in a first-appearance playoff game with 42, carried his momentum into Game 2. The Clippers’ defense swarmed Luka in the beginning of Game 1. The high pressure resulted in a total of 11 turnovers even though he managed a 42-7-9 stat line. The nerves of Luka and the Mavs were calmed in Game 2, as Luka finished the night with 28-8-7 and only one turnover! It didn’t matter if the Clippers switched Kawhi, Paul George or any player onto Luka, no one could stop him. Here’s a fun clip of Luka crossing Lou Williams for a stepback three.

Even though the Mavericks evened the series at 1-1, a long road lies ahead to win the series. One concern going forward is Dallas’ clutch time performance. Heading into the playoffs, the Mavs lost an NBA-high 19 games by five points or less. This issue is prominently a result of the Mavericks’ youth and inexperience playing together. The Mavs bench contains savvy vets, but their superstar is only 21 years old. If Dallas can continue to perform like in game two, they have a serious chance to make some noise in this year’s wide-open playoff race.

Game 3 Summary

With an MVP-like performance from Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers emerged victorious 130-122 to take the series lead.

The remaining series is dependent upon the athletic capacity of Luka Doncic, went down with an apparent sprained left ankle in the third quarter. Luka fought hard to come back, but ultimately couldn’t manage the pain. Although missing most of the second half, Luka finished with his 18th triple-double of the year. With Luka’s absence, Porzingis put on a shooting clinic. KP finished with 34 points and 13 boards while shooting 56% from beyond the arc. Porzingis was showing his range early with a deep three on Kawhi.

Seth Curry picked up where he left on in game two, shooting 4-4 from deep and scoring 22 points. Not a bad performance with his father-in-law Doc Rivers coaching the opposing team. Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to show his abilities as the Mavericks’ third option with 22 points and six rebounds. The Mavs’ best defender, Dorian Finney-Smith, posted an efficient game on both sides of the ball with 11-7-4 while holding “Playoff P” to another poor playoff performance. Trey Burke continues to play valuable minutes while making flashy plays down the stretch.

Although the Mavericks bench stepped up again in Game 3, it was no match for Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi finished with 36-9-8 while shooting 13-24 from the field. NBA superstars show their prowess in the playoffs and game three was Kawhi’s game. With Luka exiting the game in the third quarter, the Mavs had the odds stacked against them to Klaw back.

Game 4 Predictions

In order to ease Mavs fans going into Game 4, Luka’s ankle injury doesn’t seem to be series ending. Other players like Kristaps Porzingis will need to continue to play well to keep the playoff hopes alive.

Porzingis has been playing the best basketball of his career in the bubble, averaging over 30 points per game. Just like the Mavericks do not have an answer for Kawhi, the Clippers can’t stop 7’3 Kristaps Porzingis. With Boban playing when KP needs rest, the Mavericks can overwhelm the Clippers in the paint. This will create open shots for the Mavs’ deep roster of three-point shooters. For Maxi Kleber, the shots did not fall in game three, missing all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. With a couple more shots falling, the eight-point loss in Game 3 could have been relinquished.

Heading into Game 4 against the Clippers Sunday afternoon, the stakes will be high as the Mavericks attempt to even the series at 2-2.

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About Hunter Wilson

Contributor for Mavs Lead

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