Dallas Mavericks defeat LA Clippers 113-103 in Game 1 of NBA playoffs

The Dallas Mavericks finished the regular season with the fifth-best record in the Western Conference. Their reward is another playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers.

In last year’s playoffs, the Mavericks were defeated by the Clippers in six games. However, it should be noted that the Mavericks’ key players — Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were not at 100 percent. Despite that fact, the Mavericks were a worthy opponent.

This matchup was supposed to be interesting for a couple of reasons. First, the Mavericks are looking for redemption against the team that sent them home a year ago. Additionally, the Clippers entered these playoffs with hopes of erasing their epic meltdown in the conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets.

As was the case when these two clubs met in last year’s playoffs, the Mavericks did not back down from their opponent. The teams were tied at 100 apiece with three minutes left, meaning the game was up for grabs.

And the Mavericks made the most of the opportunity. Their defense forced the Clippers into eight missed shots on their next nine possessions. The Clippers also missed three free throws as well. The result was a 13-3 burst by the road team that resulted in a 113-103 victory.

As expected, Mavericks forward Luka Doncic paced the team’s offense with another spectacular performance. He scored 31 points, to go along with 10 boards and 11 assists.

This marked the third time that Doncic has recorded a triple-double in the postseason. Did I mention that he accomplished the feat in just seven postseason contests?

“This is his time of year,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN. “He’s one of the smartest basketball players you will ever meet at any age at any level.”

The Dallas Mavericks talented forward became the third player to record two 30-point playoff triple-doubles at 22 years of age. The other two players are LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. While Doncic was the catalyst in the Mavericks Game 1 win, he did have some help.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range. The Mavericks also got valuable minutes from Dorian Finney-Smith (18 points) and Jalen Brunson (15 points).

Furthermore, the Mavericks shot an efficient 47.2 percent from beyond the arc. Conversely, they limited the Clippers to 27.5 percent (11-for-40) from the 3-point line. This is no small feat considering the Clippers were the best shooting 3-point team in the NBA during the regular season.

Sure, one game does not make a series. But for the moment, the Dallas Mavericks are in the driver’s seat. They will seek to a 2-0 advantage when the teams face off again on Tuesday night.

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