NBA regular season

Mavs set first-half record in manhandling of Clippers

Agence France-Presse

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Mavs set first-half record in manhandling of Clippers

TAKE CHARGE. Luka Doncic takes over for the Mavs in the first half on the way to embarrassing Paul George and the Clippers.

Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images/AFP

Minus Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers look helpless against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks powered to an NBA-record 50-point halftime lead on the way to a 124-73 demolition of a Los Angeles Clippers team floundering without injured Kawhi Leonard on Sunday, December 27 (Monday, December 28, Philippine time).

Mavs point guard Luka Doncic scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half, when Dallas essentially put it out of reach, taking a 77-27 lead into the break.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the largest NBA halftime margin ever, surpassing the Golden State Warriors’ 47-point halftime lead over the Sacramento Kings on November 2, 1991.

Josh Richardson added 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr chipped in 18 for the Mavericks, who had opened the season with two defeats, including a 138-115 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on the same Staples Center court on Friday.

“This was obviously our best performance of all the games, preseason and regular season,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

“We had some uneven effort in the first couple of games. Guys were aware of it. They knew the caliber of our opposition today and they just decided that they were going to be the hardest-playing team in the gym.”

Paul George led the Clippers with 15 points and Serge Ibaka added 13.

But they clearly missed Leonard, who needed 8 stitches on a cut in his mouth after he collided with Ibaka in the 4th quarter of a victory at Denver on Friday.

“Everything was clicking on all cylinders,” Hardaway said, adding that the Mavericks didn’t realize how big their halftime lead was until they were in the locker room.

Carlisle said the key for the Mavericks going forward will be to maintain the intensity they showed in the first half consistently.

“The challenge is to maintain that level of competitiveness,” he said. “Our guys established a standard for collective toughness and will that we need to find a way to maintain.”

Eight of the Clippers’ 14 turnovers came in the first half. They opened the 3rd quarter on a 10-0 scoring run, but any momentum was short-lived for a team that coach Tyronn Lue said, “didn’t have a lot of pop.”

“I think a couple of turnovers early, we missed some shots, they got out and transitioned us early,” Lue said. “They had a lot of pop tonight.”

Lue, who took over as coach this season after the departure of Doc Rivers, said he didn’t think there was anything to be learned from the defeat.

“I think we throw it away, just get back to what has been working,” he said. “It’s just an exception. It doesn’t take away from what we’ve been working on.”

The halftime margin grabbed attention around the league. Former Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted: “I’ve never seen anything like that before in the NBA and the Clippers are at home!” –

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