NBA playoffs

As tempers flare, Luka Doncic fires up Mavs to 2-1 lead over Clippers


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As tempers flare, Luka Doncic fires up Mavs to 2-1 lead over Clippers

SKIRMISH. The NBA referees separate Mavericks forward PJ Washington and Clippers guard Russell Westbrook as they exchange words during the fourth quarter of Game 3.

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Luka Doncic flirts with a triple-double even as the Mavericks figure in a heated Game 3 duel with the Clippers

Luka Doncic had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, 101-90, in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series Friday night, April 26 (Saturday, April 27, Manila time).

The Mavericks lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is set for Sunday, April 28, in Dallas.

Kyrie Irving scored 19 of his 21 points in the final 14 minutes for the Mavericks.

“It’s the will and the heart of a champion,” said Irving, who added 6 assists in the win. “You’ve gotta get out of your own way. I think me maturing over the years has really taught me to let the game come to me.”

Norman Powell and James Harden each had 21 points for the Clippers, who committed 19 turnovers. Ivica Zubac added 19 points and 8 rebounds.

PJ Washington added 10 points and 3 steals for the Mavericks before getting ejected along with Clippers guard Russell Westbrook following a shoving incident in the fourth quarter.

The skirmish started when a frustrated Westbrook pushed Doncic, triggering a verbal altercation between players of the two teams.

Kawhi Leonard was held to 9 points on 7 shots from the floor in 25 minutes, though he grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds.

“We’re going to get it right,” Leonard said. “Time will tell, but we’re doing all the right things.”

Leonard was playing his second game after a three-week absence caused by a right knee inflammation.

“Tonight it was either play limited minutes or not play,” he said, “and I wanted to be on the floor to help the team. And that’s what the results are. Frustrating that it happened to me this late in the season. But, yeah, we’re going to keep going. We’re going to get it right.”

Leonard said he was uncertain about his status for Sunday, adding, “But I want to play.”

Paul George finished with 7 points on 3-for-11 shooting from the floor in the loss.

“I got to be better,” George said. “It really was frustrating.”

Doncic limped to the locker room, favoring his right knee, late in the first quarter with the Mavericks trailing 19-14.

But Doncic returned in the second quarter and helped Dallas capture the lead. He hit a pair of three-pointers during the Mavericks’ 12-0 run that gave them a 37-32 lead.

Dallas never trailed again, leading by 13 points at halftime and pushing the lead to as many as 21 points.

Kyrie Irving overcame a slow start to contribute 21 points and 6 assists in the win. Dereck Lively II had 13 points and Derrick Jones Jr. chipped in 11 points 

The Mavericks scored 29 points off the Clippers’ turnovers.

Harden had 5 of the Clippers’ miscues and Leonard finished with 4. Dallas committed just 9 turnovers. –

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