After a dominant victory in Game 1, a lot of people thought the Clippers were going to wipe out the Mavericks in Game 2. Those people couldn’t have been more wrong, as Dalls won 127-121. The Mavs came out firing from the jump and kept their foot on the gas pedal for all four quarters. They weathered a first-half storm from Kawhi Leonard. They weathered a small run from the Clippers late in the fourth quarter. They even weathered some truly remarkable free-throw shooting (remarkably bad, that is).
All in all, it was a great night to be a Mavs fan — the best night in a while, actually. Let’s reflect on some of those feelings by taking a look back at my three favorite moments from Game 2.
Luka’s Poster Slam
Picking on Marcus Morris Sr. is fun, but at some point, I’m going to start feeling bad right? I’ll let you know if I get to that point. I’m sure not there now. Neither is Luka Doncic.
A few minutes into the first quarter, Luka uses a screen to get by Paul George, then blows by Ivica Zubac’s attempt to contain him after the screen and has a meeting with Morris at the rim. I’ll let you watch for yourself.
uh oh. pic.twitter.com/Efp0FBxbEA— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 26, 2021
The thing is, Luka does plenty of things to embarrass some of the best athletes in the world. He breaks their ankles. He overpowers them near the hoop. He uses fancy footwork to put them in a blender. He drops in unthinkable shots even if the defense is seemingly adequate. One thing he doesn’t do a whole lot of is rise up and dunk on someone’s head. Poor Morris.
The worst part for Morris is that it feels like Luka barely got off the ground. This was a rim-grazer for all rim-grazers. Doesn’t matter. Luka let out a scream like he just 360 dunked on a 14-foot hoop.
Luka’s one-legged 3-pointer
Of course we have another Luka moment here. What did you expect?
One special thing about Luka is that he often finds ways to combine his wizard-like skillset with a basketball IQ far beyond his years. With approximately 35 seconds left in the third quarter, Luka did exactly that. He hustled down the court with the ball in his hands, crossed over on Rajon Rondo, and while running to his left, tossed up a one-legged, sideways, fadeaway 3-ball. Splash. Not only did the shot drop, but Luka executed it to set up a perfect two for one.
COME ON. Luka running one-legged fadeaway 3 pic.twitter.com/Y7MVMDSJXl— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 26, 2021
I mean, what is that? It’s magic, and it gave the Mavs a nice nine-point lead heading into the biggest fourth quarter of the season.
Tim’s Dagger Three
There were a ton of awesome moments from Game 2, but the final spot has to be Tim Hardaway Jr.’s gigantic jumper with just over a minute left.
The Mavs lead had been cut down to four points, and the Clippers felt like they were within striking distance. All they needed was a stop. Luka had the ball near halfcourt and was doubled by Paul George with the shot clock winding down. He found Dorian Finney-Smith who wisely flashed to the free-throw line when Luka got doubled. Then, Finney-Smith kicked it right back out to Tim, who was left open by George when he went to double Luka. Tim knocked it down. It was perfectly executed. Chefs kiss!
CLUTCH HARDAWAY JR. ♨️♨️♨️ pic.twitter.com/ACmUh5bU8R— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 26, 2021
Tim’s reaction says it all. Ball game.
Bonus moment: Luka’s final rebound and scream
A bonus moment? That’s right! I couldn’t wrap this up without briefly mentioning Luka’s massive scream after he secured the final rebound of the game. The rebound was basically meaningless; the game was already over. But it signaled relief. Even though the score had reflected the fact that the game was basically over, when Luka hauled in that board and let out a scream, I finally felt like I could relax and enjoy the result.
All of the caffeine from the late-night coffee finally left my system after that scream. I slept peacefully, dreaming of going up 3-0.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.