Not even the “Luka Magic” could help the Dallas Mavericks overcome the star-studded Los Angeles Clippers in the decisive Game 7 on Sunday. The Clippers rallied to a 126-111 win at Staples Center, becoming the first team in this unorthodox series to win a home game.
After trailing 38-35 in the first quarter, the Clippers bounced back in the second and were up by eight at halftime. The Mavs responded with a 19-6 run, only to break down offensively and defensively towards the end of the period.
Following a 24-4 blitz, the Clippers took over the control of the game and then managed to hold off Dallas in the final quarter with some clutch threes by Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr.
Kawhi Leonard followed up his 45-point performance in Game 6 with a near triple-double in Game 7. He had 28 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists and played some great defense on Mavs phenom Luka Doncic down the stretch.
“It’s all about the moment,” said Leonard after the game. “You got to be aggressive all night and don’t try to make the game be perfect.”
The Clippers also had huge help from their bench, getting 24 points combined from Terance Mann and Luke Kennard alone.
Doncic put another ridiculous performance for Dallas, finishing the game with 46 points, 14 assists, and seven rebounds. And while the Mavs’ other four starters also reached double digits in points, the production of their bench was abysmal. All they got was four points and two rebounds from Dwight Powell, while Jalen Brunson managed two points, four boards, and one assist.
The Los Angeles Clippers will now look to further cement their status as a championship contender in a second-round matchup against the No. 1 seeded Utah Jazz.
The Mavericks are back to the drawing board and need to figure out how to prevent another early playoff exit next season.