3 takeaways from Mavericks Game 1 victory over the Clippers

Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers

The Dallas Mavericks notch an upset victory over the Los Angeles Clippers with Game 1 victory on Saturday.

The Los Angeles Clippers have been the subject of ridicule this past week after being accused of tanking the end of the season to avoid playing the rival Lakers in the NBA Playoffs. If that were actually the case, they have to be regretting their decision, considering they had to contend with the Dallas Mavericks in the first-round.

On Saturday, the Mavericks took Game 1 with a 113-103 victory over the Clippers to take an early series lead. Here are three takeaways’s from Dallas’ win and Los Angeles’ shocking loss.

Luka shines in Hollywood

The Clippers know all too well how much chaos Luka Doncic can create in the NBA Playoffs. He pushed Los Angeles to the limit in last year’s playoffs from the Walt Disney World bubble, and gave the very same team a reminder in Game 1.

Doncic may have secured the triple-double, but he played a pivotal role in the team breaking a 100-100 tie late in the fourth quarter. Shortly after Paul George’s jump shot, Doncic found Dorian Finney-Smith from behind the arc and successfully made it from 26-feet out to give the Mavericks a 103-100 lead. Shortly after two free throw shots from Kristaps Porzingis, Doncic found Tim Hardaway Jr for a late layup to extend Dallas’ lead to 107-100. From there, it was game over for the Clippers.

Through 41 minutes, Doncic scored 31 points (11-for-24 from field, 5-for11 from three-point line), 11 assists and 10 rebounds to secure his third-career triple-double in the playoffs.

Clippers may have unintentionally avoided LeBron James and the Lakers, but now they have to contend with Doncic for the best-of-seven series.

Kawhi Leonard, not Paul George, ice cold in crunch time

Things really seemed to go downhill for the Clippers once they flexed following Kawhi Leonard’s dunk on Maxi Kleber in the third quarter.

After cutting down their deficit to 75-73, the Clippers were outscored 38-30 for the remainder of the game to lose by 10 points. Life comes at you fast.

There has been jokes surrounding George on social media following a rather bad first half. However, George was solid in the fourth quarter. George was four-for-seven from the field and tallied 10 points. His biggest shot of the game came on his jump shot to tie the game at 100 points apiece.

Leonard, on the other hand, disappeared in the fourth quarter. The two-time NBA Finals MVP only had four shot attempts in the final act of the game, and only scored on one of them for two points. While he was a non-factor in scoring, he did assist on a pivotal three-point shot from Rajon Rondo six minutes into the fourth quarter.

If the Clippers want to make it to the NBA Finals for the first time in their franchise’s history, they need to avoid Leonard having a similar fourth quarter down the stretch. But the good news is that George did produce in the final quarter, so there is that.

Clippers’ struggles from the three-point line

This season, the Clippers were the most successful three-point shooting team in the NBA, as they shot 41.0-percent from long-distance in 72 games. That is why it comes as a shock that the Clippers struggled from behind the arc on Saturday afternoon.

In the 48 minutes of total time, the Clippers had 40 shots from the three-point line and successfully hit 11 of them. That comes as a shock, especially with their success in the regular-season. Meanwhile, the Mavericks shot 17-of-36 from the arc.

Granted, the Clippers did rest their starters towards the end of the season, so maybe there was some rust in Game 1. Whatever the case may be, the Clippers need to find that magic in the upcoming games.

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