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Mavericks Roundtable: Game 4 Reactions, Luka’s Heroics, & Previewing Game 5

Mavericks Roundtable: Game 4 Reactions, Luka’s Heroics, & Previewing Game 5

1. Game 4. Explain all your emotions from start to finish. Where does this rank in your all-time list of Mavs games?

Duell: Pretty much one of the biggest emotional roller coasters of a game I can remember. From the deflating news of Porzingis being ruled out just minutes before opening tip to the incredibly poor first quarter and a half or so from the Mavs, it was looking like the series was all but over. Not a good feeling there. Obviously a ton of fist pumps in the third and fourth quarter as Dallas suddenly couldn’t be stopped on the offensive end.  There was extreme anxiety in the final five to six minutes of regulation and then in OT because we of course have seen the Mavericks wilt in big moments time and time again this season, but man, the amount of intensity in the joyful scream I let out as Luka’s shot went in at the buzzer cannot be measured.

Konkle: Hard to say all-time, but the only things it clearly ranks behind is the title run and Dirk’s final game.

I’ve been surprisingly calm this entire series to be honest. I know the Mavericks are playing with house money and I’m at peace with how hard they’ve competed, so I’ll be able to live with whatever the result is. But I’d be lying to you if I said their play isn’t inspiring…It’s validated everything we previously: This team is on a championship path. With Luka, KP, Carlisle, and Donnie Nelson, they’re going to be in the mix for a very long time. It gives me a great sense of pride knowing my team, our team belongs in the conversation with teams like the Clippers.

Mulford: Overall, it certainly ranks behind the 2011 Finals and Dirk’s final game, but as a sheer moment of excitement and joy? Man, it ranks pretty damn high. From how that game started off for Dallas to end like that? A legit roller coaster of emotion.

That fourth quarter was some of the most anxious I’ve been watching a game for some time, especially in the final four minutes or so.

Every time the Mavs would hit a shot, my family around me would erupt but I was calm and focused as ever, because we all know 1) what this Clippers team can do and 2) what this Mavs team has failed to do in crunch time. But certainly, when Luka blasted Reggie Jackson’s face off, I let out a huge yell of relief. Man, what a moment.

2. Luka. Let’s just brag real quick on just how incredible he’s been this series, especially Game 4. 

Duell: I thought all of the worry/speculation of how he’d perform in this series against a defensive juggernaut like the Clippers was totally warranted. Despite watching this guy perform at an elite level night in and night out for the past two seasons, I fully expected him to have some really rough games in his first taste of the NBA playoffs. I’ve never been happier to be wrong. He has exceeded every expectation I could have had for him and then some. The things he’s doing are the kind of things I never thought I’d see a Maverick do, and that’s knowing I got to watch Dirk Nowitzki for the final 16 or 17 years of his career.

Konkle: Man…Coming into series, I expected Luka to have some ups and some downs. Definitely thought he’s take his licks, but also show some of that Luka magic.

But he’s been the best player on the court featuring one of the all-time greats and two other all-star caliber players. And it hasn’t even been that close.

Tonight was one of the most impressive, breath-taking performances I’ve ever seen. Especially when you consider all the things the team was dealing. Bum ankle, no KP, down 21 in the first half, etc… Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can shake this kid. It is utterly incredible and we are so blessed to have him.

Mulford: It’s been nothing short of special. He has dominated the entire series when he’s on the floor, simply being the best player in this series and that’s no shade to Kawhi. What he’s doing at 21-years-old is truly amazing stuff, especially yesterday as he was a legit gametime decision 30 minutes before tip-off and he does that?

No matter the deficit, the stage, or the opponent, this young man shows up every single time without an ounce of fear in his body. He is truly built for this moment.

3. We’re all tied up at 2-2. Can we say that this has already been a successful series?

Duell: Obviously with the feeling of excitement right now, it’s hard to be satisfied with just competing with the Clippers. If you told me a week ago that Dallas would have pushed the Clippers to six games and even had the series tied at 2 at one point, I’d definitely be satisfied with that. Now that we’re here and in the way we got here?? I want more.

Konkle: As fans and observers of this series, I think we can call it a success. But the team should absolutely be looking at this as a series they can what. As an incomplete project.

Because for a majority of these four games, the Mavericks have looked every bit as good as the Clippers. They’ve looked better even.

But yeah, I’ve seen everything I’ve needed to convince me this team will be ready for championship contention as soon as next year with the right approach to the offseason. That’s what I was hoping for coming in, and they’ve delivered that and then some.

Mulford: Prior to the series, I figured the Mavs would steal one game. Now that they’ve tied the series up 2-2 while dealing with an ejected KP and Luka’s ankle sprain in both losses, you could easily argue Dallas could be up 3-1.

You could say it’s easy to be content with losing to the Clippers in a playoff series but not now. We’re all tied up, baby. This series is obtainable for Dallas. It really is.

The fight and dog in this team is never-ending. Absolutely no giving up or feeling sorry for themselves after KP was ejected, Luka sprained his ankle; nothing. They continue to strap up their boots and go to war. This team is built to shock the world. Why not?

4. Looking forward, who has the advantage? What are the top key things you’ll be looking at for the remainder of the series?

Duell: The Mavericks certainly have the emotional and mental advantage after winning today in the fashion they did plus with the level of intensity they’ve competed with in the previous three games, but I’d have to say the Clips still have a hearty advantage over Dallas. The buzz on Kristaps Porzingis’ knee is not great as it seems to be the same knee where he had soreness that caused him to miss nine or ten games earlier this season. No way you can bank on Dallas winning two more games against a team as talented as Los Angeles without Porzingis. Of course the Clippers are hopeful to get Patrick Beverley back sometime this series as well. Even though the Mavericks won today, they still have a ton of work to do in order to overcome the talent deficit they face against this Clippers team.

Konkle: The Clippers still probably have the advantage, just due to the surplus of talent they have that the Mavericks don’t. But the Mavericks have arguably bad the best player in the series and easily the better coach in the series. Pair that with the wave of momentum they’re riding and things could get really scary for the Clippers, if they weren’t already.

I’ll be interested to see how the Clippers adapt to Luka. I suspect more attention will be payed to him, maybe even some hard traps or blitzes. If that’s the case, it will be up to the support players to deliver and knock in some shots.

Mulford: The advantage the Clippers walked into this series flaunting has somewhat diminished. Missing Patrick Beverley’s defensive intensity and leadership on the floor has affected the Clippers immensely. Not to forget Paul George has been an absolute no show in Game 2-4. Don’t ever call yourself “Playoff P” again, Paul. Thanks.

The momentum is on the Mavericks’ side as is the best player in the series thus far. You can imagine after Luka’s Game 4 performance that Doc Rivers and company will have a new defensive game plan to slow him down. I’d expect more Kawhi on Luka and as Reese said, more traps and blitzes.

Everyone knows just how important Game 5’s are in a seven game series. The experience and overall talent still lean toward the Clippers but the heart and fight in this Mavericks team look to be able to overcome anything.

 

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