The Mavericks ended their season on a similar tone to what we had the privilege to watch all season: chaos. Head-scratching, TV-scream educing, ever-entertaining chaos. Once down by 23 in the third quarter, the Mavericks willed themselves back to within six at the beginning of the fourth. But a dominant performance by Kawhi Leonard and some of his cohorts helped the Clippers pull away. Let’s digest some of the numbers in the last game of the Mavericks season, which over-exceeded all level-headed expectations.
15-for-46: Combined shooting performance from the Mavericks starters outside of Luka Doncic
Before this series, I talked multiple times about how the Mavericks needed to find ways to combat the Clippers’ depth. Admittedly, I made a mistake. I overemphasized the impact of the Clippers bench depth, but didn’t consider their depth of role players. Tonight as the Mavericks struggled, the Clippers flexed that muscle.
Trey Burke went just 2-for-10. Maxi Kleber made just three of his ten shots. Dorian Finney-Smith had a pretty good night, making six of his 11 shots. I wouldn’t call Tim Hardaway Jr. a role player (I think he’s a bit more than that), but he had an atrocious 4-of-15 shooting night. All of the Clippers starters outside of Leonard and Paul George made 13 of their 20 shots, giving the struggling Mavericks no chance to fully catch-up.
9-for-10: Kawhi Leonard’s shooting performance in the second half
Great players are scary. Great players with championship experience are a nightmare. Leonard had a subpar first half, scoring 11 points on 38.3 percent shooting. But as his team opened up the third quarter on a 14-3 run, we saw something from him: a clap. Leonard had showed emotion, your worst fear if you are the opposing team.
From then on, he was lights out. His singular miss came at the four minute mark of the third quarter. He was perfectly reliable in the fourth quarter, making all four of the shots he took.
38/8/8: Luka Doncic’s stat line
Let me end on a positive note. If my tone has been negative, that is not at all my intention. This team far exceed every expectation I had of them, and they did it completely beaten up. The most pleasant surprise came from the performance by Luka Doncic. Even though Doncic put up incredible numbers in this game, I’m going to divert from scheduled programming and talk about the eye-test.
Tonight, I watched a 21 year old who did not let his team get run out of the gym. I watched a second year player look like a ten year veteran as he scored 16 points in the third quarter. Most of all, I saw a face of anguish, pain, and anticipation as the clock ran out. That is the face of someone who is going to be back next season, hungrier and more prepared than ever.
Luka Doncic's first playoff series was unreal:— ESPN (@espn) August 30, 2020
Youngest player to ever hit a playoff buzzer-beater
40-point triple-double in Game 4
21 years old and did it on a bad ankle pic.twitter.com/J1ajvB2sfk