With the Clippers against the ropes, Kawhi Leonard picked the team up and responded in Game Three with a win in Dallas, bringing the Clippers closer in the series and keeping their championship hopes alive.
Leonard finished with 36 points on 13-17 shooting, played excellent defense around the floor, and gutted out an impressive 43 minutes despite consistent injury management over the past several seasons. He was able to consistently create openings for himself in the mid-range and get to the line.
For three… YESSIR!
Kawhi with 30 points (12-16 FG), 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks halfway through the fourth. pic.twitter.com/DGokzsfgWO
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 29, 2021
Though the Mavs got off to a hot start and a double-digit lead in the first quarter, Los Angeles came back quickly to finish that period down just 34-31.
Still, Luka Doncic gave it all he had on the other side, putting up a 44-9-9 line that is right up there with his incredible performances through both of the past two playoff series between these two teams.
AND. ONE. 💪@AcmeBrick | #ALLIN pic.twitter.com/NmCwjzT0ry
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 29, 2021
For the most part, nobody on the Clippers could guard Doncic, and Patrick Beverley went to the bench early in the game after a technical foul and did not play in the second half. Instead, we saw Clippers coach Ty Lue pivot to playing Terance Mann even more and even playing Rajon Rondo on Doncic at times.
Mann brought energy in his 19 minutes, scrapping defensively on Doncic and also getting into it with Willie Cauley-Stein at one point in a play that earned Cauley-Stein a technical foul. The physicality that came between these two teams in the Bubble has continued into this series and led to more than a few dust-ups.
Terrence Mann ran at Willie Cauley-Stein after he appeared to get shoved.
A tech was called on the Mavs for a "physical taunt." pic.twitter.com/F2qNLlRhZp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 29, 2021
The series will stay in Dallas on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET as the Clippers look to make good on their title dreams.