NBA playoffs

Kawhi leads Clippers past Mavs to even series at 2-2

Kawhi leads Clippers past Mavs to even series at 2-2

THE KLAW. Kawhi Leonard churns out a double-double in the Clippers' Game 4 romp of the Mavericks.

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

After losing the first two games of the series, the Clippers bounce back and win back-to-back games at the Mavericks' home court

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points and 10 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers even their Western Conference first-round playoff series against the host Dallas Mavericks with a 106-81 win in Game 4 on Sunday, May 30 (Monday, May 31, Manila time).

Paul George added 20 points and 9 rebounds for the Clippers, who lost the first two games of the series in Los Angeles before bouncing back to win the next two on the road.

Reggie Jackson scored 15 points and Nicolas Batum, who replaced Ivica Zubac in the starting lineup, contributed 10 points for the Clippers, who host Game 5 on Wednesday.

Luka Doncic came in averaging 38 points and 8.7 rebounds through the first three games of the series, but has been bothered by a cervical strain on his left side and was limited to 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. He made just 9-of-24 shots from the field, including 1-for-7 from three-point range.

Kristaps Porzingis contributed 18 points, but the remaining Dallas starters beyond him and Doncic combined for 12 points on 4-for-20 shooting.

As a team, the Mavericks shot 5-of-30 from three-point range, a single-game season-low 16.7%, after averaging 18.3 baskets and shooting 50.5% from three-point distance through the first three games of the series.

Leonard made his first eight shots en route to scoring 36 points in Game 3 on Friday and he made his first six shots on Sunday.

The Mavericks’ only surge came when 7-foot-4 center Boban Marjanovic made his first appearance of the series midway through the first quarter and scored 4 of his 12 points, but the Mavericks never regained the lead.

Dallas missed its first seven three-point attempts before Jalen Brunson hit one at the first-quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 31-22.

The Clippers went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to take a 45-27 lead, and led by as many as 19 in the period, the same lead the Mavericks had in the first half of Game 3 before losing by 10 points.

The Clippers eventually took a 61-45 lead into the half, and then scored the first 8 points of the second half to move ahead 69-45.

Los Angeles expanded the lead to as much as 28 in the third quarter before taking an 82-60 lead into the fourth. –