The Los Angeles Clippers opened their series against the Dallas Mavericks with a 118-110 win. But Doc Rivers’ team managed to break down the No.7 seed only after the ejection of Dallas’ superstar, Kristaps Porzingis.
The Latvian center was thrown out following two technicals, the second coming in the third period when he tried to defend Luka Doncic, entering a dispute with Marcus Morris. Even the Clippers’ player stated that Porzingis shouldn’t get a tech for his reaction.
Nevertheless, the Mavs were left with only Doncic on the court, and the young sensation did everything in his power to stop LAC, but without any success. While doing so, Luka set the NBA record for the most points in his first playoff appearance, dropping 42 buckets on one of the best teams in the league and the biggest candidates for winning the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The Clippers held the Mavs to just 13 points in that third sequence, scoring 21 on the other side. At first, Kawhi and the boys opened the match pretty well, scoring 10 unanswered points, and after that, extending the lead to 18-2 when Morris hit a three at 3:30 to go.
However, Dallas was more than willing to respond, and they erased that deficit, gaining a 38-34 edge at the end of the opening period. They would hold the Clippers without a basket for almost four minutes in the early second while getting to a 50-36 lead.
LAC went on a 12-2 run, which would bring them back, and things became pretty intense from that point on. The teams traded baskets, up until Porzingis got ejected when Dallas started to lose its pace.
Kawhi scored 29 points, had 12 boards, six assists, and three steals. He was 10-of-14 for two but made just one basket in seven tries from downtown. Paul George ended the night with 27 points, while Morris delivered 19 with six rebounds. Lou Williams had 12, and Ivica Zubac posted a double-double with 10 points and boards each.
Luka Doncic scored 42, with 9 assists, seven boards, and three steals. The reigning Rookie of the Year was 13-of-21 from the field and missed just one of its 15 free throws.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was behind him with 18 points and 6 rebounds, while Porzingis the same numbers before getting tossed. Seth Curry contributed with 14 off the bench.
The next game in the series is this Wednesday.