After a hard-fought Game 5 in the Staples Center and a wild fourth quarter, the Dallas Mavericks downed the Los Angeles Clippers and now have a 3-2 lead heading back to Dallas. Final score: Mavericks 105, Clippers 100.
The Mavericks came out firing early, despite having a jumbo line up with Boban Marjanovic and Kristaps Porzingis and took an early lead on the back of Luka Doncic’s 19 points. The Clippers rallied back after being down, to close the gap all the way to two at halftime. Things got dicey in the third quarter with the Mavericks falling behind by five before an absolutely crazy run (led by the Dallas defense of all things, including an amazing possession of Porzingis helping out on Kawhi Leonard), resulting in the Mavericks going up 89-75 by the end of the frame.
The fourth was as upsetting as it gets for Dallas fans, with the Mavericks holding the lead and letting it whittle down, only to see it balloon back up. The Mavs went up 10 points and looked like they were about to close the game with slightly over two minutes left. Then, the Clippers went on a huge run and everything fell apart. Nicolas Batum had a shot at the rim with just under 10 seconds left to steal the hearts of Mavs fans and give the Clips the lead. Thankfully, Batum missed and Tim Hardaway Jr. secured the rebound, ultimately resulting in an awesome 105-100 Dallas win. The series heads back to Dallas with the Mavericks up 3-2.
Let’s just get right to it before my heart rate gets back to normal. Here are 3 things from the huge win.
Boban Marjanovic, starter
Rick Carlisle made a big-time move ahead of Game 5. He inserted Boban into the starting lineup and moved Maxi Kleber to the bench. And you’ll never believe it, but... it worked!
The best part? It wasn’t even a gimmick. Boban played 20 real minutes tonight and made a big impact while on the court. The Clippers had a much harder time finishing around the rim early on in this game than they had in the previous four. Instead of a layup line, the Clips had to second guess things when they attacked the cup.
Boban also proved to be a nice target around the basket for Luka Doncic dump-off passes. He finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds.
Dwight Powell is back!
This was the most fun I’ve had watching Dwight Powell play basketball in a very long time, and clearly, Carlisle agreed.
In the first four games of this series, Powell played a total of 18 minutes. Tonight, he notched 22.
Powell was doing a little bit of everything for the Mavs tonight. He was driving to the hoop, drawing fouls, rebounding the ball aggressively and playing solid defense. At one point, he even Euro-stepped Marcus Morris Sr.
A couple more Dwight Powell shining moments:
- He Euro-stepped Marcus Morris Sr. and finished the layup.
- He got a timely offensive rebound that led to a big Tim Hardaway Jr. three.
- He had a slick put-back dunk in the second quarter.
All in all, Dwight looked rejuvenated, and that is something to be excited about.
Luka Doncic was nothing short of incredible tonight. He painted a masterpiece, starting out hotter than fish grease and then carving up the LA defense in whatever way was necessary.
Luka made his first five threes to start the game, so it was clear after the first quarter that we were witnessing something special. He didn’t shoot the ball all that well for the rest of the game, but he did everything else.
He got to the rim, he rebounded the ball, and above all else, he made the perfect read time and time again. Because of all that, he finished with 42 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and only turned the ball over four times. He went just 1 of 8 in the final frame and yet the Mavericks survived.
This was the type of game that superstars have. It felt like a must-win for the Mavs, and Luka put the team on his back and carried them to a victory (despite having a sore neck).
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.