Los Angeles Clippers 118, Dallas Mavericks 110 — Thanks to a pair of double-doubles from Kawhi Leonard and Ivica Zubac, the Clippers outlasted the Mavericks in Game #1 of their Western Conference first round playoff series on Monday night.
That doesn’t come close to telling the whole story, though.
Marquette grad and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers had his guys ready to go out of the gate as they opened the game on an 18-2 run. Yet somehow, the Mavericks actually took a lead briefly before the first quarter ended, and then in the second quarter, it was a 14 point Dallas lead, 50-36, on a layup by Trey Burke with 7:30 left in the half.
The game was already shaping up to be a wild one when Luka Doncic got called for carrying the ball in the third quarter. That ended up leading to a scuffle between Marcus Morris and Kristaps Porzingis which ended with both players getting a technical foul. That was the second of the game for Porzingis, and he was done for the night. At the time, Dallas was up 71-66 with 9:10 left in the third, and Porzingis had already contributed 14 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes to that point.
LA would immediately go on a 19-7 run from there to open up a seven point lead on the Mavs. Doncic had no intention of letting his team fall away here, though, as he would end up setting an NBA record for points (42) by a player in his first playoff game. Dallas would tie the game twice early in the fourth quarter, but the Clippers had too much firepower as the game wore on.
Leonard had 29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and three steals to lead the way for LA, while Paul George had 27/2/3 to help their case. Zubac had just 10 and 10 for his double double, but hey: still counts. Doncic finished with seven rebounds and nine assists on the night. He still gets credit for a double-double, but it’s one that Doc Rivers is happy to see: Doncic had 11 turnovers in the game.
Up Next: Game #2 for these teams comes on Wednesday night. Tipoff on TNT is set for 8pm Central time.