Luka Doncic is too good.
The Mavericks were down one with 3.7 seconds left in overtime, and the legend of Luka grew:
BAAAAAANG! LUKA IS CLUTCH pic.twitter.com/WEmGZaPKLU
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) August 23, 2020
That capped off a 43 point, 17 rebound, 13 assist triple-double — on a Doncic almost didn’t play because of an ankle sprain, a night Kristaps Porzingis had to sit out because of a sore knee, on a night the Mavericks fell behind by 21, Doncic would not let them lose.
The Clippers and Mavericks are now tied 2-2 in their first-round matchup with a critical Game 5 coming on Tuesday.
This was a signature win for a young Dallas team. The Clippers were attacking early and some stars had a hot hand — Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and was getting to his spots on the floor, and Lou Williams was red hot off the bench with 36 — and Los Angeles raced out to a 21 point lead in the second quarter.
A lot of teams would have folded, especially with their starting center and a key scorer in street clothes. Dallas didn’t. It made a run behind Doncic, who was the best player on the court.
Carlisle: “It will go down in some form as maybe the greatest game played by a second-year player.”
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) August 23, 2020
As the Mavericks made their run the Clippers were, to use the words of coach Doc Rivers, “very emotionally weak.”
The Clippers simply are not executing at a high enough level. That’s not just Paul George shooting, although he was 3-of-14 in this game, continuing his slump. The bigger problem is on the defensive end for L.A. right now.
“Without Porzingis they scored 135 points, and we’re supposed to be an elite defensive team. Right now we’re not,” Rivers said after the loss. “They shot 50 percent from the field tonight. They made shots. They attacked us off the dribble. They made plays. It was never anything complicated. They just stared us in the face and beating us off the dribble.”
The final shot by Doncic was another example. Leonard started the play on Doncic but had to switch because of a pick before the ball was inbounded — the Clippers were supposed to switch into a ball denial and try to keep the rock out of Doncic’s hands. Reggie Jackson didn’t. He let Doncic catch the ball, then let him slide to his preferred left for the shot.
Right now the Mavericks have the momentum.
They also have the best player in this series.