First Round Game 3 Recap: Mavs vs Clippers

On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Los Angeles Clippers at the American Airlines Center for Game Three as they look to continue their momentum they have going in the playoffs. This is the first time the Mavericks have played at home in the playoffs since April 23rd, 2016 and they look to make it a good one as they try to capture a win to get closer to advancing to the next round. The Mavericks are expected to welcome approximately 16,000 fans in this matchup.

On Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Los Angeles Clippers in the second game of a seven game series. The Mavericks started this game just like how they did in the first game, by having their offense getting off to a tremendous start but the Clippers had a much better performance in this one as they were able to make it close. The first half ended in the Mavericks’ favor as they were able to maintain a 71-70 lead at halftime. In the second half, it was once again the Mavericks having control but the Clippers tried one last push in the final minutes of the game but came up short as the Mavericks were able to finish off the Clippers for a 127-121 win. Luka Doncic finished the game with 39 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists to lead the Mavericks to victory. The Mavericks also got production from Tim Hardaway Jr as he had another big game during this series by finishing with 28 points in the win. With the win, the Mavericks now have a 2-0 series lead in the best-out-of-seven as they head back home to the American Airlines Center. This will be the first home game for the Mavericks in the playoffs under the Luka Doncic era as last year’s was held in the “Playoff Bubble” due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Nobody thought the Mavericks could do this much damage against the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that’s expected to go deep in the playoffs. Several “Analysts” have picked the Clippers to win the series as early as Game Four or Game Five, some of them are hoping that fans don’t realize the mistake in their prediction and hope they don’t “get caught” so they could say “YOU SEE I TOLD YOU SO”. We have caught those “Analysts” and screenshot their predictions so it’s TOO LATE, you have been caught. The Mavericks have surprised many people around the league and fans of the sport but if you are a Mavericks fan then you should know that this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. The Mavericks are very capable of beating anyone at any given day and have a legitimate shot at making a deep playoff run in the playoffs. A lot of people have written off the Mavericks, only to find the crumbled paper or eraser to fix their mistake. The Mavericks deserve to be respected because they are a very dangerous team that could do major damage. This Game Three matchup is very huge for both teams as for the Mavericks, they want to take a tremendous 3-0 series lead and be one win away from advancing to the next round but for the Clippers, they need this game to show that they are the type of team that everyone believes them to be and hope for a series comeback. The Mavericks don’t want to give the Clippers any hopes of coming back to win the series, that’s why Game Three is so important for the Mavericks to win.

The Los Angeles Clippers are coming into this game by being down 0-2 in the series. They are recently coming off a 127-121 loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday to fall behind 0-2 in the best-out-of seven. The Clippers were coming into this season with hopes of trying to make a deep run in the playoffs but time is running out as they already have their backs against the wall. This team is led by Kawhi Leonard as they look to try to win their first game in the series and hope for a comeback. If their current trend continues, they will be packing their bags and going home much sooner than they thought. The Clippers desperately needs to win this Game Three matchup as they want to prove to themselves that yes they can beat the Mavericks and yes they can make it a series, as so far they have shown absolutely nothing, other than they want to go home early so they could watch the rest of the playoffs on their TV, which is fine because they could Luka Doncic do his thing in the playoffs. The Mavericks still need to remain focused as it’s so way to think that you got the series wrapped up but the reality is, nothing has been clinch and you still need win four games against a team to advance to the next round in the playoffs. As the famous saying goes and in the words of the late Kobe Bryant, the “Job is not finished”. There’s still plenty of games left in the series for the Clippers to maintain a comeback and the Mavericks want to prevent that from happening.

The Mavericks started this game by having JJ Redick (right Achilles injury) be ruled out for this matchup while Maxi Kleber (right Achilles soreness) will be available to play. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Hardaway Jr, Finney-Smith, Porzingis and Kleber as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Luka Doncic as he nailed a jump shot for the Mavericks to get this game underway. The Clippers would call a timeout with 9:47 left in the quarter as the Mavericks built a 8-0 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks opened the game by making three of their first five attempts while the Clippers missed all of their first two attempts taken thus far. Man, in the opening minutes of the game, the crowd was beyond loud to the point I need earplugs to write this as I don’t think I’ve ever heard the American Airlines Center this loud before. The Crowd certainly had a major factor for why the Clippers got off to a slow start as they couldn’t get anything to go down. Coming out of the timeout, the Clippers turned to Reggie Jackson but couldn’t convert as he committed an offensive foul that kept the score at 8-0 with 9:39 left in the quarter. The Clippers wouldn’t get their first points until the 9:14 mark as Paul George drilled a driving layup to come within 11-2 of the Mavericks. The Mavericks would extend their lead to twelve points after Luka Doncic knocked down a three pointer to extend their lead to 14-2 with 9:05 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were feeding off the crowd’s energy as the crowd has played a huge part into why the Mavericks were able to get off to a great start in the opening minutes of the game. The Clippers would call another timeout with 7:36 left in the quarter as the Mavericks extended their lead to 20-6. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were knocking down shots all over the place while the Clippers seemed a little bit rattled due to this tremendous crowd noise at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks were able to generate a 12-6 run to grab control of the game thus far. The Clippers, once again, found themselves with their backs against the wall as they couldn’t find a single way to stop these Mavericks from scoring with nothing working for them thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Clippers turned to Paul George as he was able to convert on a driving floating jump shot to come within 20-8 of the Mavericks with 7:13 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to eighteen points after Tim Hardaway Jr knocked down a three pointer to extend their lead to 26-8 with 5:48 left in the quarter as their offense continued to roll. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 3:54 left in the quarter after the Mavericks lead shrunk to 30-15. Prior to this timeout, the Clippers, finally were able to get their offense going as they were able to generate a quick 4-0 run to try to climb their way back in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 30-15 with 3:29 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to maintain control of the lead and take a 34-31 lead into the second quarter. Things got a little bit interesting in the final seconds of the quarter, as double technical fouls would be assessed to Luka Doncic and Patrick Beverley as they got into a mini scuffle over the possession of the ball. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 11 points for the Mavericks. The Clippers were led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as they both scored 9 points. This quarter was absolutely dominated by the Mavericks as you couldn’t of asked them to get off to a better start to a game than this, although the Clippers made a late comeback to erase the majority of the Mavericks’ lead as they went on a 20-4 run in the final minutes. The crowd was absolutely beyond loud as that gave the Mavericks tremendous amount of energy and momentum in the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Mavericks were shooting 52% on 13-of-25 shooting from the field. Now, since Luka Doncic picked up a technical foul, that doesn’t count towards the 15 that he picked up during the regular season so no suspension but there’s a limit in the playoffs into how many you can get before you get suspended and that number is 7, so Luka Doncic is now 6 away from reaching that limit.

The second quarter would begin by having Patrick Beverley nail a jump shot for the Clippers to get this quarter underway. The Mavericks wouldn’t get their first points in the quarter until the 11:28 mark as Jalen Brunson nailed a three pointer to extend their lead to 37-33. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to four points after Luka Doncic knocked down a jump shot to extend their lead to 42-38 with 10:17 left in the quarter. The Clippers appeared to have settled down as they were able to get their shots to go down while the Mavericks offense went quiet for a little bit, which played a key part into why the Clippers were able to get themselves back in the game. The Clippers were able to trim their deficit to two points after Paul George knocked down a pull-up jump shot to come within 42-40 of the Mavericks with 8:46 left in the quarter. This crowd was giving me 2011 vibes as it feels good to see the crowd back at the American Airlines Center. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 7:35 left in the quarter after the Clippers kept the Mavericks’ lead at two points at 44-42. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks opened the quarter by making three of their first six attempts while the Clippers made five of their first eight attempts taken thus far. At one point in the game, it looked like it was going to be a blowout as the Mavericks were torching the Clippers but the Clippers were able to find a way to erase the majority of the lead to get themselves back in the game and keep it close. The Mavericks, simply cannot allow their offense to go quiet as the Clippers were right there behind them, just waiting for the opportunity to take the lead away from them. The Mavericks would need to their defense to wake up and play better in order to generate separation from the Clippers in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Jalen Brunson but couldn’t convert as he lost the ball on a turnover that kept the score at 44-42 with 7:10 left in the quarter. The Clippers were able to grab their first lead in the game after Paul George knocked down a three pointer to take a 45-44 lead with 6:56 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to reclaim the lead right back after Maxi Kleber knocked down a three pointer to give them a 50-47 lead with 6:10 left in the quarter. The Clippers would go in front again as they were able to grab the lead (again) after Kawhi Leonard knocked down a slam dunk to take a 51-50 lead with 4:59 left in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 4:33 left in the quarter after the Clippers extended their lead to 53-50. Prior to this timeout, the Clippers offense was rolling as they were able to generate a 11-6 run to grab control of the lead thus far. The Clippers were playing good basketball as they were able to draw up good quality shots to knock down while getting some stops on defense to stop the Mavericks. The Mavericks would need their defense to step up as their offense was doing everything they can to offset their defense until it collapsed. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he was able to draw a foul to go to the free-throw line where he would hit two free-throws to come within 53-52 of the Clippers with 4:20 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Clippers were able to maintain control of the lead and take a 63-61 lead into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 26 points for the Mavericks. The Clippers were led by Paul George as he scored 22 points. The quarter certainly belonged to the Clippers as they were able to grab a lead and maintain majority control of the quarter. At the end of the first half, the Mavericks were shooting 50% on 22-of-44 shooting from the field. The Mavericks defense wasn’t enough as that allowed the Clippers the opportunity to climb their way back in the game. The Mavericks simply fell apart in the quarter as they allowed the Clippers to get themselves back in the game and take a lead, otherwise it would’ve been a blowout, had the Mavericks kept the same energy and pace they had in the opening minutes of the first quarter. The Mavericks need to give something the fans could cheer for in the second half because the Clippers did a very good job of taking the crowd out of the game in the second quarter. This game would simply come down to how effective the Mavericks’ defense is because their offense was picking up the slack but the offense could only hold so much as the Clippers broke through to find themselves with a lead.

Coming out of the half, the Clippers were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Kawhi Leonard knocked down a jump shot to get this quarter underway. Kristaps Porzingis was able to score the first points in the quarter for the Mavericks as he nailed a jump shot with 11:16 left in the quarter to come within 65-63 of the Clippers. Both teams opened up the quarter by answering each other’s shots to keep the game close as it was the Clippers holding a 70-69 lead after Tim Hardaway knocked down a three pointer with 9:33 left in the quarter to keep the game within a possession. The Clippers were able to extend their lead back to four points after Paul George knocked down three free-throws to extend their lead to 73-69 with 9:07 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would answer by having Luka Doncic complete the “three point play” by knocking down the shot and drawing a foul where he would knock down the “AND-ONE” free-throw to come within 73-72 of the Clippers with 8:52 left in the quarter. The Mavericks couldn’t generate a stop on defense as the Clippers were able to draw fouls to go to the free-throw line as it was Kawhi Leonard’s turn in which he nailed two free-throws to extend their lead to 79-75 with 7:40 left in the quarter. The Mavericks started to collapse as a team by not only having their defense struggle massively but their offense was going quiet due to not having their shots to go down. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 6:23 left in the quarter with the Clippers holding a 78-75 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks opened the quarter by making five of their first nine attempts while the Clippers made four of their first six attempts taken thus far. The Clippers were able to take control of the quarter by having the Mavericks struggle massively with their defense AND their offense as nothing was going in the Mavericks’ favor. The Mavericks would to wake up and do something to stop the bleeding because the Clippers were dictating the control of the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he was able to convert on a jump shot to come within 80-77 of the Clippers with 6:11 left in the quarter. The Clippers would extend their lead to seven points after Nicolas Batum knocked down a jump shot to extend their lead to 84-77 with 5:27 left in the quarter. The Clippers would call a timeout with 4:21 left in the quarter after the Mavericks trimmed the Clippers lead to 84-81. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were able to create some good quality shots that was enough to generate a quick 4-0 run to come within three points of the Clippers. The Clippers were getting any shots that they wanted on offense because the Mavericks’ defense couldn’t do anything. It has learned that Dirk Nowitzki and JJ Barea were in attendance to watch the Mavericks play as they could only sit and watch to see if the Mavericks could generate enough for a victory. Coming out of the timeout, the Clippers turned to Kawhi Leonard as he was able to convert on a jump shot to extend their lead to 86-81 with 4:07 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Clippers were able to maintain control of the lead and take a 89-86 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 34 points for the Mavericks. The Clippers were led by Paul George and Kawhi Leonard as they each scored 27 points. The quarter belonged to the Clippers as the Mavericks’ defense couldn’t stop them from scoring points and dictating the game thus far. Through three quarters of play, the Mavericks were shooting 45.6% on 31-of-68 shooting from the field. Defense! Defense! Defense! Stops! Stops! Stops! As that’s what the Mavericks needed to do in the final 12:00 minutes of the game if they want to win in front of their home crowd, which has been rowdy and loud throughout the game. It would be so unfortunate for the Mavericks to lose in front of their large crowd that came to watch the Mavericks play in the playoffs for the first time in five years. The Mavericks’ crowd definitely showed up to the game as they have been loud throughout the game by having learned that the seating capacity opened up for the playoffs. The Mavericks have got to play better overall otherwise the Clippers would be on their way to grabbing their first win in the series.

The fourth quarter would begin by having Rajon Rondo nail a three pointer for the Clippers to get this quarter underway. The Mavericks weren’t able to get their first points in the quarter until the 9:47 mark by having Jalen Brunson knock down a three pointer to come within 92-89 of the Clippers. The Clippers were able to extend their lead to eight points after Kawhi Leonard knocked down a three pointer to extend their lead to 97-91 with 7:56 left in the game. The Clippers would call a timeout with 7:18 left in the game after the Mavericks shrunk the Clippers’ lead back to three points at 97-94. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks opened the quarter by making three of their first nine attempts while the Clippers made three of their first six attempts taken thus far. If the Mavericks wanted to comeback in the game, they would need to generate stops on defense and have that transition to points on offense as the Clippers still had the momentum. The game is right there for the Mavericks taking, it would simply come down to how bad they want to take it from the Clippers as it was still anybody’s game. Coming out of the timeout, the Clippers turned to Marcus Morris as he was able to convert on a three pointer to extend their lead to 100-94 with 7:01 left in the game. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 6:23 left in the game after the Clippers extended their lead to 102-94. Prior to this timeout, the Clippers were able to generate a quick 5-0 run to maintain control of the lead and the game thus far. Time would be running out for the Mavericks to come up with something to take the lead away from the Clippers as the Clippers offense continued to roll with rhythm by taking good quality shots. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he was able to draw a foul to go to the free-throw line where he would make one free-throw to come within 102-95 of the Clippers with 6:02 left in the game. The Clippers were able to extend their lead to ten points after Marcus Morris knocked down a three pointer to extend their lead to 105-95 with 5:46 left in the game. The Mavericks desperately needed to on a serious scoring run on offense if they wanted to grab control from the Clippers, the question would become, do they have one left in them. Luka Doncic was able to draw a foul to go to the free-throw line as they are in the bonus for the reminder of 3:54 left in the game but Luka Doncic missed both free-throws that kept the score at 109-100. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 3:33 left in the game after the Clippers extended their lead to 112-100. Prior to this timeout, the Clippers were able to generate a 7-3 to maintain control of the lead thus far. A technical foul would be called on Marcus Morris for taunting which allowed Kristaps Porzingis to take the technical foul free-throw which he made that allowed the Mavericks to come within 112-101 of the Clippers. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic but turned the ball that kept the score at 112-101 with 3:17 left in the game. The Clippers would call a timeout with 2:52 left in the game to use their “Coach’s Challenge” to review a foul called on Marcus Morris which resulted in him fouling out the game (if the called stood). After the review, the Officials stuck with the original and thus resulting in a unsuccessful challenge from the Clippers that allowed Marcus Morris to foul out the game but the good news for the Clippers was that they held a 112-101 lead. As a result, Luka Doncic knocked down a free-throw to come within 112-102 of the Clippers with 2:52 left in the game. The potential game sealing bucket would happen after Kawhi Leonard knocked down two free-throws to extend their lead to 117-105 with 1:32 left in the game.

This team looked it was going to blowout the Clippers early as once again, their offense was able to get off to a great start but their defense started to collapse in the second quarter, which opened the door for the Clippers to climb their way in the game. The Clippers were able to generate enough offense in the final minutes to take a 63-61 halftime lead. The game opened up with the crowd being tremendously loud as that affected the Clippers but as the game went along they got used to all the chatter from the crowd. This was a huge game for both teams as the Mavericks could take a tremendous 3-0 series lead with a win while the Clippers were looking to slowly but surely climb their way back in the series by grabbing their first win in this round of the playoffs.

In the end, it was the Los Angeles Clippers defeating the Dallas Mavericks 118-108. Luka Doncic finished the game with 44 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in the loss. The Clippers were led by Kawhi Leonard as he finished with 36 points and 8 rebounds. The Mavericks got production from Maxi Kleber and Jalen Brunson as they each finished with 14 points. With the loss, the Mavericks lead in the series would drop to 2-1 as they are still two wins away from advancing to the next round in the playoffs but that allowed the Clippers to get themselves back in the series as all of a sudden they feel like they have a chance to comeback in the series. The Mavericks defense simply was awful as they couldn’t stop the Clippers from running all over them which resulted in the Clippers winning. The Clippers appeared to have found a way to stop the Mavericks and finally grab a win over them in the series. This was simply an awful performance from the Mavericks as they had all the control and momentum in the opening minutes of the game but let it slip away to the Clippers. For those that attended this game, thanks for coming and showing up, you guys were absolutely rowdy and loud throughout the game and that was much appreciated. Despite the loss, it was nice to see fans back at the American Airlines Center at near full capacity for the first time since the COVID-19 Pandemic that shut down sports a year ago.

The Mavericks will continue to remain at home as they will host the Los Angeles Clippers again at the American Airlines Center on Sunday for Game Four of the series.

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