Doncic, Mavs take chippy 101-90 win over Clippers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and the suddenly defensive-minded Dallas Mavericks took a chippy 101-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night for a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

The Mavs rode the same defense that gave them home-court advantage with a Game 2 victory in LA, and won in Dallas three years after losing all three first-round games on their floor in a seven-game s loss to the Clippers. Game 4 is Sunday in Dallas.

Rookie Dereck Lively II scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Daniel Gafford, his tag-team partner as a dunker and rim protector, had an emphatic block of a dunk attempt by Paul George early in the fourth quarter while Dallas was taking control for good in a game with five technical fouls, a flagrant foul and two ejections.

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James Harden scored 21 points for the Clippers, but just seven after halftime, while fellow stars George and Kawhi Leonard had little impact. Normal Powell also had 21.

George dealt with foul trouble and finished with seven points, five rebounds, five assists — and five fouls. Leonard never looked comfortable in his second game back after missing nine games with right knee inflammation and had nine points and nine rebounds. Ivica Zubac had 19 points and eight rebounds.

Kyrie Irving scored 19 of his 21 points in the final 13-plus minutes, including eight in the final 1:18 of the third quarter, and was instrumental in Dallas rebuilding an 18-point lead that had been cut to six.

An already testy game reached a boiling point midway through the fourth quarter when Russell Westbrook slung Doncic around after fouling him.

Westbrook was called for a technical for that contact and for shoving P.J. Washington after Washington confronted him. Washington also was called for a tech during the sequence, and already had one from an earlier shoving match with Terance Mann.

Westbrook, who in the first half got a flagrant 1 foul for excessive contact when fouling Josh Green on a breakaway, and Washington were ejected.

Westbrook, who missed all seven shots and scored one point, drew the ire of the crowd one other time when he bowled over Doncic after Zubac was called for a foul as Doncic went up for a shot. Officials reviewed the play but ruled Westbrook’s contact incidental.

Doncic, who briefly left the court after limping off while grabbing his right knee in the first quarter, was just 7 of 25 from the field and 3 of 13 from 3-point range.

But Dallas held George and Westbrook to a combined 1 of 10 from deep, while Leonard didn’t even have a 3 attempt among just seven shots.