NBA playoffs

Mavs blitz Clippers, head home with 3-2 edge


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Mavs blitz Clippers, head home with 3-2 edge

DISPUTE. Clippers guard Amir Coffey (left) and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic battle for the ball in Game 5.

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Luka Doncic posts a double-double despite watching the final five minutes from the bench as the Mavericks move within a win of booting out the Clippers

Luka Doncic scored 35 points and handed out 10 assists as the visiting Dallas Mavericks moved one win away from a spot in the Western Conference semifinals with a 123-93 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, May 1 (Thursday, May 2, Manila time).

Maxi Kleber contributed 15 points as the Mavericks took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is set for Friday, May 3, in Dallas.

“Game 5 is over and we have to prepare for Game 6 and find a way to protect home knowing that in this series, both teams have been able to win on the road,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd. 

“We can’t take anything for granted. Game 6 is going to be tough. They have guys over there who can put the ball in the basket and they have been down before in the series. Just understand that we have to look at things we can get better at and get ready to play Game 6 on Friday.”

Jaden Hardy and Kyrie Irving scored 14 points apiece for the Mavericks. Dereck Lively II and Derrick Jones Jr. each had 12.

Paul George finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Ivica Zubac also had 15 points for the Clippers, who played for the third time in the series without Kawhi Leonard (right knee inflammation). 

It was the first time Los Angeles dropped a game without the star.

Norman Powell put up 14 points while Terance Mann and Bones Hyland each had 11 for Los Angeles, but James Harden was held to 7 points and 7 assists. 

Harden shot 2-for-12 (16.7%) from the floor and 1-for-7 from three-point range after he and George each scored 33 points in a Game 4 win.

“We just didn’t play well all around, defensively, offensively,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “We just didn’t play a good game. That’s OK. Turn the page. You still have to win four games and we know we can win on their floor. We’ve shown tha … We didn’t play our best game and we understand that collectively. We’ll be better for Game 6.”

The Mavericks took control with a 14-0 run in the third quarter, establishing a 73-50 lead. Doncic scored 9 points in the surge, while the Dallas defense took charge to hold Los Angeles to 33.3% shooting in the third quarter. Dallas shot 63.2% in the period.

“I think there was two halves where we didn’t play good defensively, but everybody is on the same page defensively,” said Doncic. 

“We’re talking, we know what other players like to do, we watch film, we watch scouting and we just focus. I think the communication we have on defense is the key. And the energy.”

Doncic effectively put the game away on a three-pointer with eight minutes remaining for a 97-72 lead. He watched the final 5:39 from the bench after hitting 14-of-26 (53.8%) from the floor and 2-of-8 from long distance.

After a tight first quarter, the Mavericks gained some separation by taking a 12-point lead in the second quarter and going into halftime with a 56-46 advantage. Doncic had 15 points in the half and Kleber added 12.

George had just 7 points before the break for the Clippers while Harden was held to five as the Los Angeles stars combined to shoot 4-of-15 (26.7%). 

“I think Jones and PJ (Washington), they played great defense and Kyrie was pressuring him (Harden) the whole time,” said Doncic. “We just locked in and communicated. We just followed the scouting.” –

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