The LA Clippers beat Mavericks 104-97 to force Game 7 in the series. Kawhi Leonard was the man of the match with a dominant all-around outing.
The clock ticked away as the Los Angeles Clippers inched closer either to elimination or survival. Yet, Kawhi Leonard stood calmly while holding the ball and ultimately dictating the Clippers’ fortunes.
Not only did Leonard appear comfortable with the pressure of having the ball in his hands, but he also appeared comfortable with who defended him. Leonard wanted to match up with Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic. So after receiving his wish, Leonard jab-stepped and then drilled a step-back 3-pointer over an off-balanced Doncic.
The play captured how Leonard led the Clippers to a 104-97 Game 6 win over the Mavericks on Friday to tie the first-round series at 3-3 and force a decisive Game 7 on Sunday at Staples Center. Leonard tied his playoff career-high with 45 points while shooting 18-of-25 from the field and 5-of-9 from 3-point range. And Leonard’s 27-footer over Doncic proved to be the dagger shot, which gave the Clippers a 95-88 cushion with 2:20 left.
Leonard scored 42 of the Clippers’ final 68 points. During that stretch, Leonard shot efficiently from the field (17-of-22), from deep (5-of-8) and from the free-throw line (3-of-3). Meanwhile, Doncic’s efficiency fluctuated. After scoring 11 first-quarter points on 4-of-8 shooting, Doncic became less effective in the second (four points on 1-of-3) and third (two points on 1-of-5 shooting). Doncic rebounded in the fourth quarter (12 points on 5-of-8 shooting), but Leonard made up for that with 12 points of his own while making all five of his attempts.