It was on another level tonight. The Clippers looked like a completely different team tonight from an energy and physicality standpoint. From the jump, they were in a groove. Paul George finally found his mojo after three terrible games, which clearly sparked the Clippers spirits.
The Los Angeles bench was tremendous tonight, and not necessarily with their play, but with the camaraderie and energy they expressed cheering on their team and talking noise to the Mavericks.
Though the Mavs came back from a 21-point deficit in Game 4, tonight’s deficit felt different from the get go because of the Clippers’ energy.
It was only a matter of time that the Clippers had a game like this, especially responding after Luka broke their hearts in Game 4. They’re title favorites for a reason. If they’re playing with this much energy and confidence as a team, the Mavericks stand very little chance going forward.
Let’s keep it real: he’s the worst. Period.
Fitzgerald and his officiating team were terrible all night long. Questionable calls. Soft calls. Late calls. You name it.
Rick Carlisle got so fed up in the third quarter that he got the boot, getting ejected after receiving a technical and clapping in the face of Fitzgerald.
“I’m just standing up for my team,” Carlisle said postgame about the ejection.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was fouled by Paul George on a layup and as Tim was preparing to shoot his free throws, the officials blew the whistle, indicating that the Clippers challenged the foul call. No issue in challenging the call but the amount of time that went by before Doc Rivers decided to challenge was ridiculous that the officials awarded him the opportunity.
Let’s not forget that Fitzgerald is the one who ejected Porzingis in Game 1 due to that questionable second technical.
I’m not one to overly complain about officiating or blame a loss on that because there will always be human error when it comes to that but it’s gotten a little egregious.
Having the referees have such an imprint on a game, especially in a close playoff series, is inexcusable and something that needs to be addressed by Adam Silver and the league going forward so a series late in the playoffs aren’t affected.
Tonight was the first time in the series where Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both had their way with the Mavs. They both dominated Dallas tonight.
After struggling in the last three games, Paul George finally put the critics to rest for tonight, scoring 35 points on 12/18 shooting.
Kawhi continued to do Kawhi things, finishing with 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
When both of the Clippers’ stars are playing at this level, they’re almost impossible to beat, especially for the Mavericks without KP.
The team is beat up. KP missed his second straight game with knee soreness. Dorian Finney-Smith was questionable due to his hip which he’s been dealing with throughout the bubble but played through it.
With Luka, he looked to be slower and more hobbled tonight on his ankle than he did on Sunday, where he was a game-time decision. Not only did he look hobbled, but the Clippers trapped and blitzed Doncic coming off pick-and-rolls, which slowed the Dallas offense.
For Dallas to force a Game 7, Luka will need that ankle to be a little more spry on Thursday and most importantly, the Mavericks will need Kristaps Porzingis on the floor.
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