Kawhi Leonard wanted to force the seventh game of the first round tie, but I also wanted him send a strong and explicit message to Luka Doncic. He did both in a 97-103 series-sending win between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers to the definitive face to face in
The angelic star, with 45 points that tie his best mark in a playoffs and two baskets with the Slovenian defending him, he made one of the best games that are remembered in the postseason. Leonard commanded at pleasure in the second half and dedicated himself to answering each and every one of the Mavs’ little escapades on the scoreboard.
Doncic, author of 29 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists, I trust his teammates a lot and the formula worked until in the last quarter everyone ran out of gunpowder. They then observed how Kawhi brought out his killer instinct to isolate the Dallas star in defense and put him a couple of emotional blows of those who do not let you sleep at night.
With three minutes to go, Leonard nailed his first blow with a shot of two in front of Doncic. Then he insisted and visibly asked his teammates to leave him alone against the Slovenian in the next possession. Then he scored a trippy (88-95) that began to tip the balance while the Mavs found no answer.
Doncic did find a rim on the next possession, but Kawhi he was convinced his message was going to make the headlines and nailed another triple to resolve doubts about the seventh game of a unique and bizarre tie in which neither team has managed to win at home, something unprecedented in the history of the NBA playoffs.
In a match of defensive and even cut, with more than 20 leadership changes, the collective game dominated the attack of Dallas and the defense of both teams. Leonard rescued the Clippers from their worst moment when they were seven down in the third quarter with 13 consecutive points in the final section of the period.
The escort combined his efforts with Paul George, author of 20 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, Y Reggie jackson, very inspired last night with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. The Los Angeles trio dominated and focused the entire attack of Tyronn Lue’s team, which nor did he need the bench (4 points) to win the match.
Dallas proposed the opposite, and Doncic started strong with 11 points and subsequently gave way to his peers in the second and third periods. Tim Hardaway Jr. made a very complete match with 23 points, Y Dorian Finney-Smith appeared in the brightest moments of Rick Carlisle’s team with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals ball.
The Mavs coach wanted to punish LA’s small quintets with the inclusion of Boban marjanovic in the starting five. The experiment paid off, but Carlisle didn’t trust him for the fourth quarter despite his 12 points and 9 rebounds in 17 minutes of play, by far the most efficient player for the Mavs alongside Jalen brunson, spark off the bench with 7 points.
One more time, Kristaps Porzingis’ role was marginal more beyond a fierce mate as a punctual positive note to his meeting. The lack of intensity and reluctance describe the Latvian’s body language on the pitch. Their 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
and a plug they are another failed opportunity to vindicate themselves against an opponent who should dominate by size under the hoops.
After dominating at the end of the first quarter (28-26) and the third (77-73), the Mavs proved they lack gunpowder when Doncic misses. The Slovenian, who ended with a 11 of 24 in field goals and 2 of 9 in triples, was the only player to score for the Mavs in the final seven and a half minutes: only 9 points in a disastrous final stretch of the match for Carlisle’s.
With this certainty, the dependence of Doncic, Dallas will travel to Los Angeles to try to confirm what the statistics say in this tie: the home team loses. The duel between Kawhi and Luka promises.