In what wound up being another close game, the Clippers were able to hang on late and defeat the Mavericks 130-122 to take a 2-1 series lead. The big story from this game was Luka Doncic’s health, as he went down with an ankle injury, before coming back and the being forced to leave the game again. Things do not look great for his series outlook at this point, but expect him to do everything in his power to play.
The Clippers came out and were the better team early, and went into half with a 14 point lead. Their defense was much improved from game 2, and the decision to start Shamet gave them a great boost on offense. His shooting and playmaking could be very key for them.
Kawhi was sensational, with 36, 9 and 8. When he is in a zone like this, his teams are always difficult to beat. He got help tonight as well, as a total of 7 Clippers scored in double figures in the game. This team is super dangerous if they can score at this rate and are locked in defensively.
Despite the big win, the ‘playoff Paul George’ nickname continues to swirl after another tough performance. He had 11, 9 and 7, but shot a measly 3-16 from the field in this one.
For the Mavericks, they have been more competitive than most probably expected. Doncic has been sensational, and hopefully he is healthy for the next game. Porzingis has shown why he is a star in this league, with 34 and 13 in game 3. Solid contributions from Curry, Hardaway and Burke kept the game close, but with Luka’s injury this game was never going to be easy for Dallas.
The key to this series will be Doncic;s ankle from this point on. If he is playing, I believe every game becomes a toss up. However, if he is out, expect the Clippers to dominate from start to finish and potentially close this out in 5.