Of course, it wasn’t a guarantee to happen, and for the first half, it was anyone’s ball game. LA led for almost the entire first quarter, but a three-pointer from Luka Doncic in the final minute helped propel Dallas to a 34-29 lead after one. The Mavs didn’t maintain control of the lead for long, though. A JaMychal Green and-1 less than two minutes into the second quarter tied the game at 34, and another and-1, this time from Leonard, with 6:31 left in the half would turn out to give the Clippers the lead for good.
Still, it was only a 57-51 advantage at halftime thanks to Doncic scoring with about 30 seconds left. LA scored the first seven points out of the locker room to take a 64-51 lead, and the lead would eventually climb as high as 23 in the third quarter. Dallas would eventually trim the lead down into single digits in the fourth quarter, and even as low as six with 9:28 to play. If you guessed it was Doncic scoring — hitting a three in this case — to get that 88-82 margin, then you win a prize. Landry Shamet answered with a three for LA, and a jumper from Kawhi with 7:35 to go pushed the lead back above 10 for good.
Leonard led the Clippers with 33 points, and he added 14 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals to the proceedings. Doc had to counter a game high 38 points from Doncic, who just missed a triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists.
Connecticut Sun 76, Washington Mystics 63 — With Jasmine Thomas limited to just 10 early minutes due to an injury flare-up, Connecticut went with a seven woman rotation for most of Sunday’s game against Washington and managed to come away with a relatively easy win.
A back-and-forth early part of the first quarter led to Connecticut taking a 19-15 lead after 10 minutes. Kaila Charles was big off the bench for the Sun in the first half, racking up 12 points while the Sun built a 39-28 margin at the intermission after leading by 10 for a moment. That 10 point lead would double for a long stretch of the third quarter, but it was only a 14 point lead, 57-43, at the end of the third thanks to a late Kiara Leslie bucket for Washington to wrap up the scoring.
That late burst from Washington was about as close as the Mystics were going to get in this one, as the lead never dipped below 10 in the final 10 minutes. DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas were both great for the Sun here, with each getting a double-double and playing more than three-quarters of the game. Thomas missed a triple-double by two assists, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.
The win, along with the day’s other results, leaves Connecticut in seventh place in the WNBA standings with a record of 7-9 with six games left to play. They’re two games behind sixth place Phoenix with both games against the Mercury still to come, and a game ahead of Dallas in eighth place. Because it’s important here as well: Ninth place Indiana is a game and a half behind the Sun.
We’re here for Natisha Hiedeman related things, of course. She played over 19 minutes in this one as Curt Miller went with that seven woman rotation. Hiedeman went 1-for-5 from the field, with the one coming from behind the arc, and she added a split pair of freebies to give her four points on the day. She also had two assists.
Up Next: Connecticut returns to action and CBS Sports Network in their next game. That one will be on Tuesday evening, as they tipoff against New York at 6pm Central.
The Clippers are going to get a few days off here. Their second round series will come against the winner of the Denver/Utah series, and Jamal Murray scored 50 (on 17-for-24 shooting!) on Sunday night to force a Game 7 in that series. That one will be played on Tuesday, September 1st, so you would have to figure that Game #1 for the Clippers won’t be until the 3rd at the earliest.