The Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 124-72 in game three of the 2020-2021 season. Luka Dončić led Dallas with 24 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in 26 minutes. Paul George scored 15 points for the Clippers.
The pressure was on for the Mavericks coming into this game. They wanted to avoid starting the season on a three-game losing streak, something that never happened last season. Kawhi Leonard did not play today against Dallas after suffering a lacerated mouth two days ago in a win against Denver.
Going into this game, there was one thing coach Carlisle wanted to see after two disappointing losses:
“Regardless who’s out there, we have to come out with full force.”
And boy did Mavericks show their coach the ‘force’ he wanted to see. Doncic scored on his first drive, followed by Josh Richardson's drive and one. In the following possessions, we saw a Doncic to Powell alley-oop dunk and Doncic scoring on a fast break and-one.
Dallas led 10-2 after only two minutes and Clippers coach Ty Lue had to take an early timeout. Things didn’t change much as Dallas continued their aggressive play and led 26-5 with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
You could see the Mavericks’ focus was on rebounding and aggressive defense from the start. Dallas allowed only one offensive rebound in the first quarter.
Doncic set the tone for Dallas early as he finished the first quarter with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Josh Richardson added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. According to Mavericks PR, this marked the first time in the past 20 years that Dallas has had two players score 13+ in the first quarter. Dallas led the Clippers 36-13 after twelve minutes of action.
The second quarter started the same as the first — with a Mavericks avalanche.
Dallas’s bench unit played with the same aggressiveness as the starters did. They increased the lead to 30 points only a minute and a half into the second quarter. Time for another Ty Lue timeout.
Despite the time out, nothing changed much as the Mavericks continued stream-rolling over the Clippers. Willie Cauley-Stein was all over the floor in that period of the second quarter with five points, five rebounds, and two great dunks. The lead increased to 40 points with seven and a half minutes left in the second quarter. Jalen Brunson scored nine points as the lead kept growing. And when the starters returned, things got worse for the Clippers.
Dallas led by 50 points at the half!
Yes, that is not a typo. The score was 77-27, the NBA record for the largest lead at half-time in the shot clock era.
The Clippers finally showed some life, starting the second half with a 10-0 run. Coach Carlisle called a timeout and Mavericks settled down, keeping the lead at around 40 points. Doncic continued driving to the basket at will. When he wasn’t scoring himself, he was finding open teammates with some amazing passes. The Mavericks led 104-57 heading into the fourth.
The fourth-quarter featured end-of-the-bench players on both sides. Mavericks fans could see rookies Josh Green, Tyler Terry, and new addition Wes Iwundu get their first real minutes in a Mavericks uniform. The final score was 124-73.
The Mavericks are now 1-2, ending their first road trip of the season. They will play the Charlotte Hornets on December 30 in their home opener.
Mavericks responding to first adversity
This was one thing Dallas did well last season was responding after the losses. The Mavericks didn’t lose three games in a row during last season and we didn’t want to see them start the new season this way. The team responded well to two tough losses with a much-needed win. Even more importantly, they started the game with a high level of aggressiveness and urgency that was missed in the first two games.
Luka leading the charge
Our editors Josh and Kirk wrote about how Doncic needed to show more fire from the start in the first two games. In this game, you could see him being aggressive from the tip-off. He set the tone with rebounding, grabbing five boards in the first five minutes of the game. He played with force from the start and stayed animated even after Dallas led by more than 40 points in the second half.
Finally, a game where both offense and defense performed
Dallas played good defense in the season opener against the Suns but was bad on offense, especially shooting the ball. In their second game against the Lakers, the Mavericks played well on offense, but were bad on defense and especially at rebounding the ball. To beat the best teams in the NBA like the Clippers or Lakers, the team will need to play well on both sides of the floor. In this game, Dallas excelled both on offense and defense from the start. With this kind of approach and attention to detail on both offense and defense, the Mavericks can compete with the best.