When Luka Doncic drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Clippers 135-133 in overtime on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks were riding high. They had just evened their first-round playoff series at 2-2 and looked like they had a legitimate chance of beating Los Angeles.
Then Game 5 happened.
The Clippers bludgeoned the Mavs 154-111, as Paul George (35) and Kawhi Leonard (32) combined for 67 points. Doncic, meanwhile, scored 22 points on 6-of-17 shooting, including 1-of-6 from three.
“One of the big problems is that the Clippers really are that much better than Dallas,” 105.3 The Fan Mavs insider Mike Fisher said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “There’s been moments where it doesn’t look like that, but especially when Dallas is decimated by injuries and [Kristaps] Porzingis [has] somewhat of a mysterious knee injury and then Luka trying to labor through it on one leg, that just makes the Clippers look all the better.”
The Clippers shot a blistering 63.1 percent from the floor, including 22-of-35 (62.9 percent) from three-point range. The Mavs, meanwhile, shot just 44.7 percent from the floor, including 12-of-37 (32.4 percent) from distance.
“Some of that obviously was garbage time,” Fisher said, “and frankly, the Clippers probably rubbed it in to the point where if the Mavericks are good enough to be inspired in a vengeful way, that could help Dallas. But Dallas’ defense is middle-of-the-pack. Their pace is so fast and their focus is so on offense that they win high-scoring games, and that is the way it’s going to be. There’s nothing wrong with scoring 111 points necessarily, especially when you don’t have a guy in Porzingis in there who scores 30 a game. But Rick Carlisle, ideally, would like to have opponents score 25 points per quarter – not 45 points per quarter.”
The Clippers went on a 19-0 run in the first quarter and led 41-22 after the first frame and 76-52 at halftime. The rest was formality.
Game 6 is Thursday.
“I hate to think of it this way because I’m a Mavericks homer, but the Clippers could be 40 points worse than they were [in Game 5] and still win,” Fisher said. “That’s how good the Clippers really are when they’ve got their heads into it and they’ve got their emotions into it and Doc Rivers has them focused – and he certainly had them focused in [Game 5].”