A franchise record 45 points in the second quarter was the big difference in Game #3 between LA and Dallas on Friday night as the Clippers took a 2-1 lead in the series.
When the quarter started, the two sides were tied at 23 after a Luka Doncic free throw late in the first. 12 minutes later, it was a Doncic free throw again that brought the Mavericks within 14 at 68-54. Giving up 31 points isn’t particularly great defense by LA in the second quarter, but hey, when you’re scoring 45 points, who cares? In fact, the thing was tied at 35 with 8:13 to go. Los Angeles went on a 33-19 run to close the quarter.
Dallas pulled it inside single digits early in the third quarter, and were able to keep it around 10 points for a decent amount of the frame. The Clips also kept pushing the lead north of 15, too. Their biggest lead of the game came early in the fourth quarter as Montrezl Harrell sank a free throw to put LA up 110-92. They let Dallas show signs of life and come back within single digits midway through the final frame, but were able to fend them off and that final eight point margin doesn’t really tell the whole story of the game.
Kawhi Leonard did Kawhi Leonard things, just barely missing out on a triple-double with 36 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Paul George did not have a good game for head coach and noted Marquette Golden Eagles guy Doc Rivers, scoring 11 points on 3-for-16 shooting and 1-for-8 shooting from behind the arc. The long range shooting is the bigger problem, I think, as the Clippers shot 41% on threes as a team in the game. Feel free to let the guys hitting the shots shoot the shots, my dude.
Over on the other bench, Doncic had a triple double on 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in just 29 minutes, but he also sat most of the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Postgame comments from Doncic seem to make this out to be a minor injury more than anything else, but we’ll see. Kristaps Porzingis was really great, with 34 points and 13 rebounds.
Up Next: Game #4 comes at your eyeballs with a 2:30pm Central time tipoff on Sunday afternoon. That’s the back half of an ABC doubleheader, with Celtics/76ers giving you the front end. As such, we’ll call that 2:30 start a little bit iffy, but it’ll be close enough.