The NBA playoffs began on Monday afternoon. While there were four games on the slate, the league saved the best matchup for last. The LA Clippers took on the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the western conference playoffs. The contest was one-sided early on, as the LA Clippers jumped out to an early 18-2 lead.
Although the Mavericks fell behind early, they fought back. In fact, the Mavericks overcame the early deficit and led 38-34 after the first 12 minutes of action.
And thanks to a 12-for-21 effort from 3-point range, Dallas led by a slim a 69-66 advantage going into halftime.
Despite the Mavericks’ success in the first half, the LA Clippers came alive from a defensive standpoint, limiting them to just 13 points in the third quarter. Some of the Mavericks’ offensive struggles could be attributed to the fact that Kristaps Porzingis was ejected after picking up a questionable second technical foul.
Although the LA Clippers turned a three-point deficit into a seven-point advantage heading into the final frame, the Mavericks hung tough right until the end. A big reason for that is the play of second-year guard Luka Doncic.
He led all scorers with 42 points on 13-for-21 shooting from the field. He also shot 14 for 15 from the charity stripe. Donic also added seven rebounds and nine assists. However, Doncic’s historic night wasn’t enough to keep the LA Clippers from coming away with a 118-110 victory to take a 1-0 series lead in this best-of-seven opening-round series.
As expected, the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George paced the LA Clippers’ attack. Leonard finished the evening with a double-double that included 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Meanwhile, George chipped in with 27 points, two rebounds, and three assists. The LA Clippers will attempt to take a 2-0 lead when these teams meet again on Wednesday.