Coming off of a controversial and historic playoff opener on Monday, the Dallas Mavericks looked to even the series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. Mavs fans could call it a Kristaps Porzingis revenge game, since he was questionably ejected from the Monday contest at the beginning of the third quarter. Dallas caught a break with Clippers defensive point guard Patrick Beverley missing Wednesday’s game due to a calf injury. A win would not only even the series, it would also give many young Mavs such as Luka Dončić, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dorian Finney-Smith their first ever playoff win.
Luka Dončić, Maxi Kleber, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dorian Finney-Smith started the game for the Mavs. Unlike Monday’s game, Dallas set the tone at the start. Dallas began the game on a 15-2 run with the Clippers looking generally disinterested while making lackadaisical mistakes. However, LA eventually woke up and cut the lead to 3 by the end of the first quarter.
The Mavs would use an 11-0 run from Luka Dončić and Boban Marjanovic to begin the second quarter. Boban scored back-to-back dunks and a 13 footer assisted by Luka in the first two minutes. Dallas continued to make the right plays but found themselves in foul trouble in the quarter. Because of fouls, the Clippers again cut the lead down to a two possession game by the end of the quarter. Some of the fouls can be blamed on the Mavs aggressive defense, which helped them win the game. But some were suspect, like on Monday. The Clippers had a 19-4 free throw advantage late in the second. Despite that, Dallas took a 61-56 lead into halftime.
Dončić had 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists while shooting 4 for 6 from three at half. KP had 10 points and 5 boards while Boban chipped in 10 points and 8 rebounds in only 7 first half minutes. Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. Paul George was held to zero points going into halftime due partly due to foul trouble.
The third quarter started off with a lot of back and forth between the Mavs and Kawhi. Leonard had nine points in the first six minutes and helped cut the lead down to three with 5:30 left. Seth Curry then went on a personal 7-0 run to squash any momentum the Clippers were building and put the Mavs firmly in the drivers seat again. This third quarter was the exact opposite of the third quarters Mavs fans are used to seeing. Dallas did not melt down, instead they responded to the challenge with key buckets to maintain their grip on the lead.
Dončić started off the fourth quarter by earning his fifth foul within the first 30 seconds. Coach Carlisle proceeded to use Trey Burke, Seth Curry, and Delon Wright to supplement the loss of Dončić. Burke guided the Mavs with six quick points while Wright contributed with hustle plays that created extra possessions to go along with a couple rebounds, a steal, and an assist. Curry continued his sharpshooting with seven timely points. Luka returned with 4:30 left to go but the game was never in doubt as the Clippers failed to get the Mavs lead down to single digits. Dallas closed out the wire to wire win, leading by as many as 18, with a 127-114 win.
The Mavs bench came through in a major way on Wednesday night. The Dallas reserves contributed 47 of the 127 points. Trey Burke lead the way with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block while shooting 7 for 11 from the field. When asked about the bench success Burke said that they “stuck to the script and everyone came in focused and locked in.” Seth Curry shot the lights out like usual with 15 points on 6 for 9 shooting and finished with a +30 in his 26 minutes on the floor. Boban Marjanovic finished the game with 13 points and 9 rebounds in 10 minutes with a +12. He provided much needed help on Montrezl Harrell and continues to feast on the match-up.